News Releases

The future of the Caribbean is anything but safe

For Release Upon Receipt - May 13, 2016

St. Augustine

UWI launches book on ‘Shifting Frontiers, an action framework for the Future of the Caribbean’

What happens when you gather over 400 people, including international development partners, leading economists, thinkers and other Caribbean experts to discuss the future of the Caribbean and tell them to be bold, leave their comfort zones behind and dare them to dream? You get the book, Shifting the Frontiers, an action framework for the Future of the Caribbean, launched by The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus in a ceremony at the Learning Resource Centre on Wednesday, May 10.

Edited by former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Dookeran and Dr. Carlos Elias, Adjunct Professor of Economics at Radford University, the book is a direct result of the Future of the Caribbean Forum - Disruptive Thinking, Bold Action, Practical Outcomes. The Forum was held in May 2015 by The UWI in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago, led by Mr. Richard Blewitt together with other international development partners, including CARICOM, the Commonwealth, the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Corporacion Andinade Fomento (CAF), and the Organization of American States (OAS), among others.

“The outcome of such a dare cannot be a safe book,” said co-editor Dr. Elias speaking to those gathered at the book launch, which included members of Government and the Diplomatic Corps, as well as Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), His Excellency Alfonso Múnera, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Richard Blewitt, who also delivered remarks at the event. Professor Patrick Watson, Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) chaired the proceedings and Dr Cecil Foster, Professor in the Department of Transnational Studies at the State University of New York, Buffalo delivered the feature address: 'The Caribbean: the dialectics of an idea and expression’

Elias discussed how the book illustrates the way change will come about in the Caribbean through “Caribbean convergence – a complex process characterised by changes in trade, integration… economics, even the process of Caribbean togetherness, something that Caribbean citizens feel.” He summarised sections of the book containing discussions held during the third and the last day of the Forum, addressing areas for improvement with a series of questions such as: Why a person pays more to fly from Port of Spain to Paramaribo than from Miami to Port of Spain? We called this the logistics convergence challenge; why food is expensive and scarce in Bridgetown but plentiful and cheap in Georgetown? We called this the food security and climate change convergence challenge.”

The book offers a comprehensive reservoir of knowledge presented at the forum by heads of governments and their ministers, industry professionals, representatives of international and regional organizations, academics, young professionals and significantly, youth leaders. Its thirteen chapters, divided into four sections address issues of concern for the common citizen: air and sea transport to facilitate movement of people and goods throughout the region, energy to reduce high costs and provide incentives for the development of regional energy networks, finance to facilitate market – making mechanisms that connect financial markets in the region and food security to facilitate trading within countries of the region.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor Clement Sankat noted the dual importance of Shifting the Frontiers as a publication that not only, “preserves the thoughtful, valuable and significant contributions made by various presenters and participants, but also a publication that sets the stage for translating concepts into action for the betterment of the entire Caribbean region…specifically our Small Island Developing States (SIDS).”  Professor Sankat gave special thanks to both editors, for their “mammoth and patient effort” in editing and organizing the publication. Dookeran also stressed the need for the modernization of Caribbean institutions, “There are too many integration bodies making deep demands on the stressed treasuries. These bodies are largely without effective accountability and have overlapping mandates.  Bold action, including closure of CARICOM and UN bodies engaged Caribbean integration, must be placed on the agenda…and if I may add the retiring of old thoughts that are so often repeated as justification for failed policies and repeated old excuses.” He also defined, Shifting the Frontiers as a book about “Caribbean leadership that facilitates that leadership. Should we ignore this, it would be at our own peril and a betrayal to future generations.”

Shifting the Frontiers: An action framework for the future of the Caribbean, published by Ian Randle Publishing Company, is available at the University Bookshop. For further information, contact the Office of the Campus Principal at 662-2002 ext. 82635.



About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)