Commentary Jamaica Magazine


RE: Caribbean Day…Something for the People.

On 17 March 2007 the Irish celebrated St.Patrick’s Day in the Caribbean, London, Ireland, US and Canada… in fact, wherever the Irish were found they were celebrating that day – as the Caribbean hosted Cricket World Cup (CWC), the Irish served as a timely example of a people demonstrating their pride and joy of ethnic unity based on an annual event.

Although the much praised opening ceremony of the CWC took place on Jamaican soil, the success of the games will owe equal credit to all the Caribbean nations who jointly hosted the tournament. The glory belongs to the Caribbean, with special thanks to many individuals including the entertainers, the administrators, the executive officers and managers, the unsung servants of the hospitality industry and the security forces. All performed their respective roles with laudable efficiency. The Governments of the day must also be praised.

The successful games will show what impressive things can be achieved on the international stage when we work together as a Region and collective of people. But, note again that it is our game of cricket that has led the way for real unity of Caribbean people.

On the 25 March 2007 by CARICOM resolution, 15 independent nations agreed to synchronize a minute’s silence in commemoration of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The significance of this synchronized one minute may go down in history as a defining moment and mile stone in Caribbean relations. It is a significant moment in our joint history because it graphically demonstrates a fundamental commonality of substance. It is not a wistful minute, but a moment in time from which we build. We construct something which will be significant and enduring to last another 200 years.

The Cricket World Cup and the Abolition of the Slave Trade has aligned powerful sentiments in 2007 on the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. As a people we are at a very special place in the time of our regional history.

This time will never be here again, CARICOM represents not only the interest of Caribbean people in the region, but also the interest of Caribbean people in other countries outside the Caribbean. There is an expatriate constituent of millions if you include their extended families born overseas. CARICOM should endeavour to capture the spirit of 2007 forever…and proclaim for our people a ‘Caribbean Day’.

In the English-speaking Caribbean we share a degree of common representational politics in the guise of the region’s international institution CARICOM. We have a Caribbean Court of Justice and a regional University, with its campuses situated across three countries. The framework for a Caribbean Single Market Economy is in place and the region is now introducing the CARICOM passport.

During any Cricket World Cup tournament, people of Caribbean origin across the globe rally behind our united international sporting icons the West Indies Cricket team.

As a Region there are more things which commonly unite us as a people than could possibly distinguish us as being different and apart, yet strangely enough in this regional community we have not yet recognised a common community day.

The vision of an international ‘Caribbean Day’ is linked to the concept of celebrating the ‘rebirth’ of our Region on the 1st August. Many countries of the English-speaking Caribbean, including Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago already celebrate Emancipation Day on the 1st August. The time is now right, the effort to accomplish it would be minimal, and the impact of such a proclamation everlasting.

It is now good time for the leaders of CARICOM to announce our ‘international Caribbean Day’.

Yours respectfully,
Hamilton Daley

About the author

Hamilton Daley