OPINION: What a Biden-Harris win means for Jamaica and the Caribbean

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Cassells, in her analysis of the US election, and what the win means for Jamaica and the Caribbean, said at this moment, things on the ground in the United States will take up the bulk of the attention of the new administration.     

“We have a series of crises – the COVID crisis, unemployment, student loan, housing – and so a lot of attention will be on bread-and-butter domestic issues as a priority,” she shared with The Sunday Gleaner.

“But I believe that tempering the overarching sort of security crisis, where people of the Caribbean and people of colour live in communities that are over-policed and lacking resources, I do hope, and I am optimistic, that a progressive Biden-Harris administration will begin to address those issues.”

Cassells also hopes that the duo that trounced the controversial Donald Trump at the polls, making history in the process and earning the largest number of votes in a national election, will make good on their plan for immigration reform.

She said, “Because it would lead to some positive net effect for people from the region, who have been in immigration limbo, whether it is DACA, or part of an older migration, where people are yet to adjust their status, so that they can begin to make meaningful calculated contribution to the country they have chosen to migrate to.”

Cassells is suggesting that the number of undocumented Caribbean nationals can only benefit if they are brought out of the shadows.

For her, they become new voters, and active participants in American life. More important, it increases their earning potential, because not having to work in the shadows frees them up to take advantage of job opportunities that are foreclosed to them at this point.

Once that kicks in, she noted, the net effect will see them being able to contribute to their relatives and friends back home, via the remittance pipeline.

But more important for the political scientist, a former student at The University of the West Indies, Mona, the stronger the Caribbean community in the US engages, there is no doubt that with the elevation of Senator Kamala Harris as vice-president, it will redound in terms of Caribbean pride.

“And that should not be missed. It should lead to the incorporation of more Caribbean involvement in local American politics – that is how you begin to shape the agenda in your favour,” said Cassells.

Making reference to the Cubans, who, in spite of the fact that they are only two million in numbers, far fewer than the total gathering of people from the English-speaking Caribbean, she said they have had an outside type of impact on US politics and US foreign policy, and American life.

“The forging of that community is different from the English-speaking community; however, what is not to be lost is the fact that politicians respond to an organised community, and that is when you can begin to force the changes that you need to see in the region,” she noted.

Ray Jones, president and CEO of the Jones Company of America, concurs, but went even further, stating that he believes the change in executive political leadership in America opens the door to great possibilities of expansions, improvement and increase for Jamaica and the Caribbean as a whole.

Especially, but not limited to, areas of business, economic development, education, support for rural farmers, commercialising innovations and, most important, renewable energy and so much more for Jamaica and those living throughout the Caribbean.

Jones, whose mother is Jamaican, said Biden has a past history of having shown interest and having had discussions regarding the Caribbean and Latin America.

“And so the president-elect and vice-president-elect, Kamala Harris, of Jamaican heritage, have created the best time ever in history for opportunity,” he said.

Jones strongly recommends that Prime Minister Andrew Holness and members of the Jamaican private sector immediately begin working in solidarity to develop a comprehensive plan and strategy to work with the new US administration to increase exporting products to the United States, grow manufacturing and grow the middle class by luring US companies to Jamaica.

Donna Kassin, who has been very critical of the Trump administration, is not as hopeful.

She argues that Jamaica and the rest of the region must become aware of the power of disinformation and religious indoctrination taking place throughout the world, “from which Jamaica has not been exempt. Trump may be defeated, but he will not be the last to arise as some quasi-messianic figure battling the so-called deep state, whose rivals must be depicted as criminals and illegitimate, and a free press the ‘enemy of the state’. This is the influence of Q-Anon worldwide. America isn’t their only target”.

Kassin, who is about to release her book ‘Everything Crash: The Search and Rescue Mission for America’, did not mince her words referencing the American interference in Jamaica’s politics in the 1980s and the resulting economic destabilisation, which has taken 40 years to overcome.

“What is happening in America could be seen as karma at work,” she reasoned.

She pointed out that Biden will have no magic wand to correct the damage inflicted by Donald Trump.

“America’s economy is in shambles. Immigrants may want to consider that the ‘land of milk and honey’ they once envisioned is now infested with ugly maggots. ‘Tan a yuh yaad’ has never been more meaningful,” Kassin declared.

However, political commentator Joe Watkins, the son of an immigrant mother from Antigua, who moved to the USA with the hope of building a dream for her children and family, argues that the American dream should never be dashed.

“There were lots of elected Republicans who felt that America should be the beacon of the free world, people are welcomed, and that hope that what America is will certainly return,” he stated, adding that this election was bigger than Republican and Democrat politics.

“This is what America is supposed to be.”

For Watkins, the plus for the region, and Jamaica in particular, is having for the first time a US vice-president with West Indian blood.

“Kamala Harris has family from Jamaica, and that should count for something. I am sensing that there will be more openness if representatives from the region seek the new VP’s help in regard to aid, and other things. I would think they would find a sympathetic ear,” he noted.

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  • David Dee  On 11/09/2020 at 10:00 am

    How ludicrous the multitude of Articles (like this one about which I leave this comment) all based on the premise that Joe Biden/Kamala Harris won the US Elections. Why ludicrous? Because the articles and their naive, soon to be hapless, authors have been misled (and also trying to mislead their sleepwalking readers) into assuming that results of Elections are determined by Mainstream Media instead of Election laws which require the certification of each State’s Assembly by early December. How quickly it seems that the masses have forgotten that in 2000, AL Gore and the rest of these masses believed he was the President Elect for over 30 days. The sleepwalkers are soon going to be awakened by an alarm bell from hell when they get exposed to the profound and blatant plethora of Election Fraud perpetrated by the DS-controlled Left Wing Democrat Party. Enjoy the daydream while it lasts.

    • Dennis Albert  On 11/09/2020 at 2:23 pm

      You cyant win with the white liberals. They are against racism, except when a Jamaican-Canadian man preaches Jesus in the Sodom & Gomorrah of Canada:

  • brandli62  On 11/10/2020 at 7:47 am

    @David: You are delusional. Joe Biden won the presidency. Even Fox News believes so… At present, he leads in the popular vote by more than 4.6 million votes cast and he has a majority of 279 electoral college votes over Trump’s 214 votes. Yes, the final results have not been declared, but they will not change the picture. Hillary Clinton conceded on the same night she saw the results and she actually won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. Nobody with an objective view has found any evidence for electoral fraud.

    David, I am afraid that you’ll have to get used of the fact that Trump lost the election fair and square. The sooner you do so the better for your mental health.

    • David Dee  On 11/10/2020 at 8:56 am

      I’ve finally finished rolling on the bed laughing and will provide a reply although I expect you will remain unmoved, possibly because your response strongly indicates that you revere mainstream media. Firstly, Fox News owner Murdoch tweeted prior to the Elections that Biden will win. Hmmm, prescient or could that have been an admission of his Network’s bias? Secondly, it’s sadly manifest that you have done no independent research on the subject of numerous reports of Election Fraud by hundreds, if not thousands, off Individuals. Finally, you seem to lack a fundamental understanding of the reason that Trump has been universally scorned by Mainstream Media, Big Tech platforms, Banking Establishment Elites etc. A hatred that ONLY begun once he announced his run for the office of PoTUS. What I suggest you research is how our world has been controlled by certain Families and Bloodlines. Your path to Awakening will be impeded substantially by a false faith in pernicious propaganda perpetrated by the aforementioned Mainstream media and Big Tech who are censoring any narrative that goes against their mission to oust Trump who himself is the Globalist’s biggest impediment to their Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030. Cheers

      • Dennis Albert  On 11/10/2020 at 11:23 am

        Are we gonna get more Gay Pride parades in G/T?

        Why is SASOD determined to legalise gay, lesbian and pedophilia in my country?

      • brandli62  On 11/10/2020 at 2:27 pm

        @Dennis: Why are your making a false equivalence of lesbians, gays and pedophilia? This is factually wrong and offensive to most readers of this blog. It also speaks of a complete lack and understanding of people with different sexual orientation. Aren’t you the one accusing Indo-Guyanese of being discriminatory towards Afro-Guyanese? Why are you looking down at people with other sexual orientations than yours?

      • Dennis Albert  On 11/10/2020 at 2:53 pm

        Pastor Nigel London:

  • brandli62  On 11/10/2020 at 9:37 am

    David, once again. I am afraid that you’ll have to get used of the fact that Trump lost the election fair and square. The sooner you do so the better for your mental health.

  • wally n  On 11/10/2020 at 3:45 pm

    I am with David……BTW wish I had the ability to come up with…. “Awakening will be impeded substantially by a false faith in pernicious propaganda perpetrated” …way above my pay grade..still nice.

  • Jo  On 11/13/2020 at 1:39 pm

    It would seem natural to take some pride in Harris’ J’ca/Caribbean roots. However, have you noticed that her father is no where to be seen in any public photo she takes, let alone present on the night of the celebration of the Democratic presidential win? Although she alludes to her paternal ancestry, her father was not apparently very present in her upbringing. It’s the story of a single parent family..the mother of course totally responsible on a daily basis for her well-being. The father did take them to J’ca early on, but it doesn’t appear that he was a steady presence in her growing life.
    Anyway, the larger picture is Obama’s former engagement with Cuba and I would hope for Biden’s further outreach to the Caribbean as part of the acknowledgement of the origin of a portion of Americans today.
    I support the author Kassin in her criticism of the negative impact of US involvement in J’ca since the same happened in BG where Kennedy intervened to deny us a Jagan led government because he tilted towards “communism”. We had a megalomaniac in Burnham and the qualified people left. Yes..karma..the US has had its own megalomaniac in Trump. Further, the US Republicans still consider Cuba a threat to their existence. (???). There seems to be a large repugnance against anything called social democracy or democratic socialism in preference for a rapacious capitalist culture. And their culture has flooded us out with guns, drugs and violence..a mirror to the worst aspects of the US.
    Just my own observations and opinion. We’ve lost too much in the last 50 years since Jim Jones visited us with his demonic spirit. And if the US had done some good in BG..we’re still down in the charts one notch above Haiti. How did it come to this..a country we had so much hope for?

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