Platform for the future
The London Olympics provides yet another opportunity for faith in the elusive quest for Caribbean integration. One has only to witness the shared pride and spirit of unity that our athletes have inspired across the Caribbean to see that something real and substantial exists among the people of the Caribbean family.
Sadly, this is the spirit that is missing in Caricom which continues to exist as an expensive, unwieldy bureaucracy despite its platitudinous commitments to people-centred integration.
Caricom's failures, it should be said, stand in stark contrast to the steady advances of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) which deserves our salute as it prepares to cross a new and historic threshold with the inauguration of the OECS Assembly.
Tomorrow, 39 parliamentarians from across the Eastern Caribbean are scheduled to attend the inaugural meeting of the OECS Assembly in Antigua and Barbuda. This Assembly is a new institution of the OECS, designed to give authority to the Organisation's decisions by grounding them in a forum that represents their people.
The effect of this latest development is that the OECS will have the authority to pass laws in defined areas that would be binding on its member states, thereby giving it the teeth for action that is so absent from Caricom.
The OECS has long been pointing the way for Caricom in demonstrating a block-by-block approach to building a coherent integration movement, and doing so with greater efficiency and success.
From London, our athletes are also pointing the way, demonstrating that while they compete under different flags, the brand that is flying high is brand Caribbean, powered by the sporting excellence and personal attributes of our athletes.
Who will forget Kirani James swapping bibs with Oscar Pistorius as the young Grenadian's statement of admiration for the double amputee; or Usain Bolt's quiet interruption of a reporter who wanted to keep interviewing him while an anthem was being played?
While the London Olympics will be remembered for the glory in which Jamaica covered herself, it will also be noted as the moment that the Caribbean arrived on the global Olympic stage as an emerging force to be reckoned with.
The sheer numbers of our athletes, from one end of the Caribbean to the other, who made it through to the finals of the various events would suggest that, with continued effort and dedication, Rio 2016 could be a breakthrough year for Caribbean countries that are on the innermost periphery of the medal podium.
We are clearly doing something right with our athletic programmes. What we are not yet doing right is maximising our combined potential for making us stronger, which is where our various regional institutions should come in.
When the 2012 Olympic Games ends, a new journey could begin for us if we could see the Caribbean as a united and powerful force, capable of taking Rio 2016 by storm.