Telecommunications policy making in the English-speaking Caribbean: A comparative analysis of Jamaica and Barbados

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Enrique Baloyra - Committee Chair


This dissertation presents a comparative analysis and review of the policy making, process for telecommunications in the English-speaking Caribbean. It identifies the most influential factors leading Jamaica and Barbados to privatize and divest from their national telecommunications authority and considers whether developing countries privatization and divestment decisions are primarily driven by domestic or international factors. The linkage between internal and external factors is explored in two cases: The telecommunications policy making processes in Jamaica and Barbados. The domestic factors under consideration include: the political ideology of the country's leader and ruling party, changes of administration, the economic situation of the country, and consumer demand. International factors include: the policy agendas of powerful states, multinational corporations, and international organizations. Findings from the two cases reveal that while powerful states, international organizations, and multinational corporations at times influenced the policy making process, both governments exercised autonomy in deciding to privatize and divest from their financially lucrative national telecommunications authorities.The study begins with a general discussion of the goals, objectives, theoretical framework, and significance of the study. Chapter two summarizes the historic relationship and changing political bargain between national governments and telecommunications, while chapter three explains telecommunications within the context of international relations theory, with particular attention to the concept of the international telecommunications regime. The methodology used to analyze the telecommunications policy process, John W. Kingdon's stream convergence model, is outlined in chapter four. Kingdon's model describes how issues become policy based on the partial or total convergence of problems, politics, and policy "streams." In chapters five and six, the economic and political environments as well as telecommunications infrastructures of Jamaica and Barbados are profiled. Their respective telecommunications policy making processes and outcomes are then analyzed using the Kingdon approach.Ultimately, the following four questions are examined: (1) How influential are international actors in determining telecommunications policy in developing countries? (2) Considering the changes in political leadership, to what extent have the ideological orientations of leaders/ruling parties affected national telecommunications policy in Jamaica and Barbados? (3) Comparatively, which factors played the greatest role in both countries' decision to privatize and divest from their national telecommunications authority? (4) What are the implications for policy making in other English-speaking Caribbean countries?


Political Science, International Law and Relations; Political Science, Public Administration

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