Sir Hilary: Biden’s win a victory for region

(BARBADOS TODAY) – The election of Joe Biden as president of the United States (US) should be seen as a victory for the Caribbean.

That is the view of Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who believes the philosophy of Caribbean people has infiltrated the US political system, with Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris set to assume top leadership roles.

The 77-year-old Biden foiled Donald Trump’s attempt at a second term in office by winning the November 4 general elections with the most votes ever recorded in a US election.

He is set to be sworn in as president on January 20, 2021.

Speaking today during a virtual media conference entitled CARICOM, the UWI, Biden and the Future of our Voice, Sir Hilary maintained that the work of people from within the region had contributed significantly to the US election result.

“The Biden victory, the Democratic party victory, is also a Caribbean victory because the energy out of the Caribbean diaspora and the black congressional caucus, those members of the congress with Caribbean roots, those members of the congress with Caribbean interests, the Caribbean standing aggressively for progressive democracy – that spirit has infiltrated the Democratic party and represents the base of the Democratic party,” he said.

“So when Mr Biden says he wishes to give thanks to the African Americans for standing with him through the primaries and into the general election, what in fact he is also saying is thanks to the Caribbean people. Commitment to democracy, to multiracialism, to social justice, to equal opportunities for everyone – that Caribbean philosophy has been located at the centre of that popular effort.”

Sir Hilary said Biden had written him a letter last year, lauding the UWI’s spirit and commitment to education.

“He wrote to me as Vice-Chancellor of this university and he said, ‘The spirit that UWI has delivered through their African American community, we in the Democratic party, we are aware of it, we feel it and we give thanks to you for standing for education’.

“The Caribbean peoples have a deep commitment to education. They have carried that commitment into the United States, they have used that commitment to go all the way to the top [and] president-elect Biden recognised that,” Sir Hilary noted.

“We now have his views written to us in UWI confirming that, and so vice-president elect Harris, where she has reached, where she is located, is indeed a reflection of all of what we know to be true; the Caribbean at this moment reaching deeply into our largest North American neighbour the United States, we are now within that political ecosystem.

Not only the ecosystem at the base, but also in the leadership. This is a moment for Caribbean celebration. This is a victory for all of us. This is a moment where there is an alignment of all of the forces of progressive Caribbean politics, bright and intellectual leaders now aligned with that ecosystem in the US, building around the role of the UWI, and we are there at the centre of it. 

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