Sunday, October 18, 2009

Skerrit attends seventh ALBA summit in Bolivia agrees to forgo US dollar Newsdesk

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was among nine regional leaders of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA) who attended the seventh summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

alba presidents

Leaders of ALBA agree to forgo US dollar.

Delegations from Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda agreed to forgo the US dollar for a new regional trade currency to be called the Regional Single Compensation System (sucre). The Sucre will “replace the dollar in commercial exchanges,” between member nations.

The move toward the virtual currency could pose a problem for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Those three countries belong to the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, which has used the EC dollar since the early 1970s.

The summit also agreed to create an arbitration court, to substitute for the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), of the World Bank. The summit also debated just trade to foster the Peoples' Trade Agreements and Free Trade Agreements.

The summit ended with resolute support for ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and opposition to U.S. military bases in Latin America. According to a statement reached at the summit, the leaders and representatives from the nine participating countries called for the reinstatement of Zelaya, and asserted that they would reject any government elected by the presidential election next month.

On the urging of Bolivia, the summit discussed a draft declaration to put in place policies and procedures to protect the country and analyzed the issue of the expansion of US military bases in Colombia

Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa was among the first presidents arriving in the central Bolivian city for the summit. Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' Ralph Gonsalves, and Antigua and Barbuda's Winston Baldwin Spencer, also arrived in this city to attend the forum.

Apart from Ecuador and the three Caribbean islands, ALBA is comprised of Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Delegations of Paraguay, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Russia attended the meeting as observers.

The ALBA, initially proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves in 2001, and created by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, aims to promote economic and trade cooperation and integration between the countries of Latin America and Caribbean and counter the establishment of the Free Trade Zone of America proposed by the United States.
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Skeritt is close to his mentor, what a perfect portegee??? Chavez can and will mold him into whatever he wants, and I am afraid it will not be anything good!!!!

Shirley Allan.. Now let the bullets rain down! hahah!
Perhaps your queen or the USA can help you more than Chavez have??? How long have you waited for them to help and who have received the help? those who have sold your island to the bastards for a few dollars stolen from the people.

Alba is the best thing that have happened to the region, this of course goes against US and elite interest
Remember Judas? he couln't enjoy his 30 pieces of silver, and what was his eventual demise? He committed suicide! Dominica has committed suicide. They made so many deals with so many devils!
Doing it Dominican style, when you can't deal or don't want to deal with the message, kil/discredit/attack the messenger!!! Look for trival, irrelevant nonsense to use as red herrings. Thanks for your great article Dr. Fontaine, keep informing the people.

I used to be a proud Dominican, I was so proud of my country and my people, but now I think the devil has taken over Dominica. God please purge my country of these evil spirits that now possess her.
Is Skerrit really a LEFTIST? The American press keep referring to the ALBA leaders as 'Leftist governments'.
News Editor

Can you please explain " Agrees to forgo US Dollar" What does this Mean? Is it that Dominica and the other countries will no longer use the US Dollar. Since you write this in your headline you need to explain this to your reader

I am aware that the SUCRE is meant to be a common currency betweem members of ALBA. However, the english speaking countries of Antigua, Dominica and St. Vincent cannot participate because they are already in a common currency union with one Central Bank the ECCB.

Because of the Unanimity Clause these countries cannot just leave or move away from the ECCB and the common currency union. The EC$ is pegged to the US Dollar so how can ST. Vincent, Antigua and Dominica "forgo" the US dollar? Can you please explain.

I am also aware that all the leaders of the english speaking countries of ALBA have repeatedly said they will not sign on to the SUCRE for the reasons explained earlier. Was there a change of heart at the Summit. Please explain this to your readers.

Thanks very much
Shirley Allan, Dr. Emmanuel Finn, Zapper and others, now is your opportunity to Rain down Fire and Brimstone on Skerrit! Ha Ha Ha

One thing Mr. News editor, Did Mr. Skerrit and the leaders of Antigua and St. Vincent sign their respective countries into the SUCRE?

I await your explanation.

And please Why did you remove entirely the article on the Chinese 100 million dollar road Project? Was it too positive an article?

I await your response with great expectation

Dr. Thompson Fountaine I credit you with much more intelligence and respect. I simple do not believe that you are the writer of such article with Misleading headlines. If you are the writer I would be most dissapointed for the following reasons.

1. PM Skerrit and Spencer has repeatedly said that Dominica/Antigua cannot participate in the SUCRE because the country is already in a common currency union. I guess Dr Ralph Gonsalves would be of the same view.

2. By law the EC Dollar which is pegged to the US dollar is legal tender in Dominica, Antigua, St. Vincent and the other OECS countries.

3. They share one Central Bank and is part of the Common Currency Union of the OECS By LAW ENACTED in their respective Parliaments.

4. The Unanimity Clause prevents any member from leaving the Union without the consent of all the others.

5. I am almost certain that The leaders of Antigua, Dominica and St. Vincent did not sign their respective countries to the SUCRE.

6. In that regard I view the headlines of your article as purely sensationalism. As a professional Dominican to whom I have a lot of respect, I believe that you should first checked and ensured that Dominica was infact a signatory to the SUCRE. That is if you were infact the writer of the article.

7. In case Dominica and the other OECS countries were in fact signatories to the SUCRE, that would be ULTRA VIRES and could not take effect as it would be NULL and VOID

Thanks for the opportunity to make this intervention.

Shirley Alcid
Dominican working in St Kitts
Anonymous It is clear from the article what 'forgo the US dollar means'. Look again at the quote:"Delegations from Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda agreed to forgo the US dollar for a new regional trade currency to be called the Regional Single Compensation System (sucre). The Sucre will “replace the dollar in commercial exchanges,” between member nations."

It is clear from this that the sucre is intended to be used as the currency of choice between the members of ALBA when engaging in trade.

We were also careful to state that it may pose a dilema to the Caribbean countries. Bear in mind that the decision was tajen by ALBA without any excepmtions from the countries. Maybe you should ask the government how they intend to go about this one.

You assume without any basis that the article was written by Dr Fontaine. Secondly, make a quick search on the web. The decision was taken by ALBA of which Dominica is part to adopt the sucre for trade between them. It does not mean that they have to give up the EC dollar.

As an economist you should understand that the sucre at least for the time being is to facilitate trade between ALBA members. Also, it will only be issued in coin form in 2010, which means that it will not become legal tender any time soon. Surely you undersytand that as an economist?

Stop playing those games. The article is still posted under "All News Dominican"
Shirley, see your no.5 are you serious? Look at the communique of the summit. None of the countries desented. ALBA accepted the sucre. What you should find out is how the governments will go about it. Why are you trying to shoot down the messenger?

The sucre is not meant to replace the EC dollar. You are the economist but let me explain. Today, when Dominica buys oil from Venezuela, they convert their EC to US an make payment. When the sucre takes effect, they will convert their EC to Sucres and make payment. The sucre will replace the dollar in settling trade.

What is that talk about the EC being null and void?
The UK has its pounds but still signed to us the Euro to trade between members of the EU.

We love to make a mountain from an ant mould. Dominica can still mentain its ECD and still use the Sucres to trade with Alba members. Plus, why must we use the US dollar? Its perfectly fine to stay away from that dollar.
Anonymous at 8.25am October 19th You raised a good point making the comparison of the UK adopting Th Euro and the idea that Dominica will use the sucre to trade with her ALBA members, but pray tell what will be TRADING?? Rmember I am thinking of trading as a two way street, I sell what I have to you, You buy what I have to sell from me.. What will Dominica be selling to the ALBA members? How many of those sucres will be coming to Dominica as payment for anything expect maybe our pitance from our mother country Venezula? I would like to know, please tell me...

Someone wo really wants to know
Barzey for a 72 year old man you are acting rather childish. You told Dr. Finn that his article was rubbish and when he asked you if you will have ajob if Skerrit goes down you accused him of being insulting you.
I said in my earlier blog that I was almost certain that the leaders of Antigua, Dominica and St.vincent did NOT sign their respective countries to the SUCRE.

I wish to state that I was certainly correct. Dominica will not participate in the SUCRE. As earlier stated Dominica, Antigua, and St. Vincent did not sign on.

That is why I believe as a Dominican Dr. Fountaine should have checked and ensured that Dominica did in fact sign on before posting the article with the misleading headlines. I will admit that the Caribbean press was giving the same story.

Dr. Philbert Aaron, Dominica's ALBA Ambassador who participated in the summit, has reiterated on the local news today and also on DNO that Dominica is NOT a signatory to the SUCRE. I was certainly correct.

I just feel that as professionals we need to to better than that. Stop that level of SENSATIONALISM.

Shirley Alcid
Is it that same Dr. Philbert Aaron who wrote this damning article about Dominica's realtionship with venezula and (ALBA) via this very same medium a few years ago? Why should anyone believe or give credibility to this DR?: What does he really believe what he is saying today or what he said then? What does he know today that he didn't know when he wrote that article, or really what is he now prepared to give up for the piece of the pie? These things do matter when we try to analyze the contributions of our so called acdemics! Who just love to flash their credentials.
Check out

ALBA Countries Drop the Dollar and Envisions a Military Alliance Against the United States!
•The world can smell blood. It is the smell of the death of the USD. In the past, when you are small, it was impossible to go outright against the USD hegemony and America’s military might. Things are different now. Many countries are sick of the many wars that America started and fommented. It is not that they have something against Americans. Not at all. Americans are on the whole forthright, good people who have a strong sense of social justice. It is just that good Americans have been manipulated to fight all these unjust genocidal wars by their shadow rulers.

•Americans must wake up to the fact that their rulers are not their friends. They are ruling on behalf of a shadow Illuminati fascist elite. And this cabal intends to enslave Americans and the world to their fiat currency system via corporate fascism.

•ALBA consists of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela and Ecuador. reports :

The Heads of State and Government of countries belonging to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, ALBA, met in Cochabamba (Bolivia) where they signed a treaty creating a new virtual currency, dubbed the Sucre. The currency – named after General Antonio José de Sucre, Simón Bolivar’s companion and hero of the Latin American liberation struggle against Spanish imperialism – is slated to replaced the dollar in all commercial exchanges between ALBA countries.

Indeed, as explained Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, due to the artificial value of the greenback Washington has been able to hoard the wealth of other countries. For the next ALBA objective, the Venezuelan president envisions the creation of a defence military alliance against the United States. Hugo Chávez emphasized that only in such a way would the countries be shielded from the belligerence of the U.S. All the more reason when considering that “Nobel Peace Prize Laureate” Obama has recently organized a military coup in Honduras and has installed military bases in Colombia. Chávez also said that such an alliance could possibly be extended to other Southern countries outside Latin America, echoing the idea submitted by Lybian leader Muammar al-Gaddafi during the recent Africa-Latin American Summit.
Shirley, you refer to it as sensationalism, it really is not. Here at our aim is to report truly and accurately. We have gone back and taken a look at the final commuique, which came out today.

The communique does say that the three Caribbean countries will not be represented at the technical meeting in November to discuss implementation because they are not yet ready for the sucre.

Based on that, we will issue a clarification shortly. We will also post the Spanish version of the communique and hope that the English version is issued soon.

We appreciate that you are keeping our toes to the fire since we never wish to represent any falshoods in our reporting.
After, all as every creole speaking child knows you can not possible use "sic" to pay your bills as it would become all too liquid when the rain falls and turn merely into "glo dou" and try catching that in a basket! Try feeding that to Papa Hugo in return for his oil! Nope, he would still require U.S. $. to pay for his arms purchases from Russia for instance and I'm sure they not interested in "sic" either, no matter how sweet!

Is Skerrit really thinking clearly about his involvement in this and how Dominica will be affected? Skerrit Dominica doesn't belong to you alone, stop engaging in things without notifying the people who elected you. I will again say to Dominicans keep yourselves informed and open your eyes to what's going on. Chavez has his agenda and he just needs a few puppets, Skerrit being numero uno.
Anonymous of October 19, 2009 9:28 -
If I can recall, when ALBA started and we were told that countries like Dominica will get discounted oil from Venezula, it was suggested that Dominica would repay that oil with bananas, ect. Trade between ALBA is possible without having al sought of negative senarios.

The "white-men" makes us believe that only they can create these possitive trade blocks. I do understand that all members must make sure that all contracts are well written to benift all members and not just a few but its possible. We are constantly told that we should stay away from the Chinas and Venezulas of the world but at the same time the people giving us that advise are trading with the same countries they told us to stay away from.

The UK has their currency and still signed on to the EU where the Euro is used to trade...and in the same fashion Dominica with its ECD can sign on to ALBA and use the SUCRE!! If it can work in Europe, it can work in the Caribbean.
All joking aside, this is driven by the fact that these countries have a serious foreign exchange shortage. Whether we like it or not commodity prices are fixed every day in U.S. $. This is a double edged sword for the likes of Hugo Chavez because it also means that that he has little or no say in the price his country sells it oil for. One can understand the frustration this causes. You have to sell your main export earner in a currency of a country you detest and at a price that the market dictates to you ! The entire world has for years financed the U.S. deficit because of this but switching commodity prices into another currency, the Euro for example, will only result in driving the value of that currency up whilst at the same time driving down the value of any U.S.$ reserves these countries may hold. The fact is that there are too may U.S.$ swirling around without the issuing country to cover with its own reserves and ropping the gold standard all those years ago has only made it worse. Unpallatable as it may be, I don not know if anyone has a viable solution to change this status quo - if I knew I would be richest person in the world!

In all this talk the one thing I hear little of is "Were the voters of Dominica consulted? What kind of governments that get embroiled in game changing agreements without caring nary a hide about the opinion of its people? This is not a video game for politicians and intellectuals who can pack bags and run to other jobs, but involves the lives of the people who elected the governments. When are we going to be told something? We the 99.99999% that make up the rest of the population.
The comparison of Dominica and the Sucre with Britain and the Euro is not balanced. Britain is a powerful nation able to resist the pressure to adopt the Euro till now, but will eventually have to do so. Dominica is a small vulnerable nation dependent on Chavez nowadays to survive and might not be able to resist an onslaught from the ALBA president to change. The Sucre is not just a matter of trade for Chavez, it is a matter of pride.
Give it time Dominica will have no choice but to embrace the Sucre. Dominica's new mother country Venezuela, will demand it of Her.

My poor petit Domininque, how I weep for thee. People from everywhere have a piece of you except your sons and daughters and future generations.
Most of us here started our contribution with the notion that the Venezuelan leader, Chavez is either evil, corrupt, or taboo to trade with. Like puppets with our strings being pulled, most of us assumed the US description of that country and/or its leader. I on the other hand differ. I see no problem with the creation of groups like ALBA or CARICOM. I am one who believes that small island nations like Dominica can not and will not survive economically unless they merge together to form a larger block. I was very excited about the idea of CARICOM’s CSSE but that turned out to be more talk than action. Then I heard of ALBA and although I must admit that it has been the brain-child of Venezuela and highly financed by that country, I still think if its done right it can work. You see, the one thing all members have in common is a history of past exploitation by the larger countries. And if Chavez treats ALBA with the same ideology that he has used when he first became his country’s leader, then we will see that it will be a system to help the poor and economically disadvantaged.

I am sure that Venezuela may have some underlying political agenda (just like the US has in wanting us to believe that it is a capital offense to deal with Chavez) but it is our roll as a developing country to filter the good from the pile of filthy corrupted economically mess we call aid and move our country forward. We are already sure that the US has no other roll for our country but to stay just where we are as small underdogs where they can throw their scraps to. But it is to our advantage to cherry pick what we want and what we will say no thanks to. And lately that haven’t been a difficult act to do. With very few donors and aid targeted towards the Caribbean, it is clear who is interested in us and who doesn’t care a darn!

So after hundreds of years of neglecting us, their closest neighbors, and categorizing the Caribbean as a bunch of small derelict islands that can be easily appease when needed, the US who has constantly closed their eye towards our cries while spending millions elsewhere, now feels threaten that countries like China wants to get close to us. They know that they can keep us in “our rightful places” if they divide us. So groups and suggestions like ALBA and CARICOM’s CSSE must be curtailed from conception and thus all sought of negative talk and opposition must be released to destroy any positive advantages that may come out from them. Even though other models like the EU has proven that these trade blocks do work, especially for smaller nations, it just should not be allowed for the Caribbean. Just go back to your history books and look at any type of similar groups that have been attempted in the Caribbean/West Indies/Americas and notice how none of the Caribbean or South-Central American attempts succeeded but all of the North American ones have worked and is still working and is still expanding (case in point, the recent North American free trade) and ask yourself why!
It does not matter, US/China/Venezuela all have the same agenda. Banding islands
and creating a trading block would be better for all. Left/Right doesn't mean
what it use to. Good Luck! I would not trust any of the above mentioned governments. Don't get me wrong Chavez is a close neighbor and should be respected
but don't let him have too much control or he will be far worse than Corporate
America ever was. Same with China.

White guy in US
My comments to this article are my opinions of what i've read and known before recent leaving Dominica in pursuit of higher education. PM Skerrit has too many closed and hidden doors in his decision making. Decisions like these should not be heard spontaneously. I dont trust him, and he's digging a hole so big for the country that the citizens cannot see they're in it. I read i post higher up on this article, and the person said, that America and the Queen hasnt done anything for Dominica and Alba is the best thing. Now why dont you we STOP BEGGING, looking for "Help", because apparently we're good at it, but NOTHING comes for free, and some people dont seem to know that. So while PM Skerrit fills his pockets and suffocate our country, lets pull up our sockets and make the better on your own, we wanted Independence...yet we still depend on other. Rise up Dominica and look around you.
Because if this country i call home stays on this road, i'm fraid i wont return.

Dominican in UK
Election is coming up. It's time to stop this madness. VOTE SKERRIT OUT PEOPLE.
You vote him out but me and my father voting him in!!!
And me and my entire family too voting him in
I may not be in Dominica to vote but my family will be voting him in!!!
I pray America get another Ronald Reagan to BOMB these EVIL COMMUNISTS!
To this NewsDesk Editor

This is the first time I am logging on since my comments on the subject matter calling it SENSATIONALISM.

Based on your responce that you had checked the communique from the summit and would issue some form of clarification I took your word for it. Alas I was wrong. You have betrayed that short lived TRUST.

You have now confirmed that your article is not only Sensationalism but POLITICAL ANTI SKERRIT SENSATIONALISM. I really cannot believe that you have reduced what I considered a very prestigeous local news forum to political Sensationalism and news mongering.

You really need to clean up this mess very fast as this Internet news forum has sunk to the gutter.

Shirley Alcid
Dominican working in St. Kitts
All of a sudden everything that is not in favor of the skerrit administration is anti-skerrit, political propaganda. People DOMINICA IS NOT CHINA OR BURMA, the Skerrit admin was elected, not selected, elected, so stop this nonsense about anti-skerrit.
Shirley You are speaking rubbish. If Ron Green is elected by the people, he will be held accountable to the people stop being biased because u support the DLP. If people stopped being docile and stood up to what they believe in, Dominica would be a better place today.
I strongly dislike Chavez, so this is difficult for me to say, but considering the imbecilic decisions the Americans are making when it comes to maintaining the long term health of their currency, perhaps it's not so unreasonable that Dominica and other countries using USD-pegged currencies start to look at alternatives.
I am a typical tourist who has visited Dominica a couple of times and intends to
spend a winter there in the future. The attraction of the EC Dollar is one of the
decisions that make me come back to Dominica. Be careful of running away from the
EC dollar as other countries will become more desirable economially. An example
is Belize. I guess it comes down to whether you get more from Chavez or Tourism.

A white guy from Oregon USA
Oregonian white guy,

Unless things have changed in the last few years, then unlike most islands we get more foreign capital from selling agricultural products than we do from tourism. In a sense, since the UK is one of our largest buyers it could be argued it would make more sense for us to use the British pound rather than the U.S. dollar.

But even if Dominica were to switch, or the E.C. dollar were to float, or something like that, I expect shops and other establishments that catered to tourists would still accept U.S. dollars, just as they do in many countries with various currencies that cater to American tourists.
Oregonian white guy,

Unless things have changed in the last few years, then unlike most islands we get more foreign capital from selling agricultural products than we do from tourism. In a sense, since the UK is one of our largest buyers it could be argued it would make more sense for us to use the British pound rather than the U.S. dollar.

But even if Dominica were to switch, or the E.C. dollar were to float, or something like that, I expect shops and other establishments that catered to tourists would still accept U.S. dollars, just as they do in many countries with various currencies that cater to American tourists.
# posted by Steve Foerster : October 28, 2009 12:47 AM

It is not the act of exchanging dollars that is the situation I am talking about.
It is the fixed exchange rate to the dollar that allows predictable expenses. If
you go to one of the french islands a bagette is $5 US due to the poor current
exchange rate with the Euro. Also I do believe the government is spending a
very large effort to increase Tourism. I get stuff mailed to me and Emailed to
me to come visit Dominica again. Just got one a few days ago. I do believe also
that Agricultural products to Europe is down for a variety of legal and business
reasons. I do so want Dominica to prosper as the people deserve a break economy
wise. Also thanks for the correct Oregonian name. I appreciate that !!

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