Dookeran’s Crisis and Promise Launches in Toronto
Canada's Caribbean Camera Newspaper, March 8, 2018
Staring down a terrorist gun barrel while being held hostage in the Parliament Chamber at the Red House in Port-of-Spain, Winston Dookeran introduced himself to the gunman as the Minister of Planning. “He said to me ‘I bet you didn’t plan for this!’”
It was the 1990 attempted armed government overthrow of the Trinidad and Tobago Government by over 100 insurrectionists and Dookeran was in the thick of it. Now, almost 30 years later, the politician and scholar has released a book in Canada that plans for a wave of change in the politics of the Caribbean.
The 74-year old politician, turned academic (he is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto), addressed a large audience at the soft cover launch of his book Crisis and Promise in the Caribbean; Politics of Convergence. “We are going through a profound change, not just in Trinidad but across the whole Caribbean. I am hoping this book will start the dialogue. It will be of interest to students and policy makers alike.”
When the hard cover editon of the book was first released two years ago, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. The Jamaica Gleaner called it “highly recommended.”
“His utilitarian doctrine calls for a new breed of political leaders unafraid to combat the spectre of corruption and the enduring blight of nepotism,” said the newspaper.
Speaking in Toronto, Mr. Dookeran said that this book has three key messages.
“Based on my own political experience and as a scholar,” he said at the launch. “(I have found) that the logic of politics and the logic of economics are not one and the same - the workings of the political situation and the economy are in fact wide apart and it is a widening gap. Politics will not solve the Caribbean problem.”
Pictured at left: Winston Dookeran (left) launched his new book “Crisis and Promise in the Caribbean”. He is congratulated by Vishnu Sookar (right).
Second message? The Trinidadian scholar believes that the Caribbean region needs to have economic resilience. “We have to build to refinance the Caribbean. The flow of funds in the region has historically been outside, not inside (more money leaves the Caribbean each year that comes in). How can there b resilience when there is a historic outflow of monies and resources out of the islands?”
The third message, according to Dookeran is that Caribbean organizations like the 15-nation Caribbean Community and Common Market have come to their limit of effectiveness.
“ (Caricom) has achieved a lot. But I am saying it can’t go any further. It has reached it limits in the Caribbean. Converge means moving beyond borders and look at new relationships with Spanish Caribbean and Latin America.”
People attending the launch on Friday night were able to buy copies of the book at a display set up by the Bathurst Street Another Booklist. Both Another Booklist and the UofT bookstore are carrying the new soft cover book.