The coloniality of international investment law in the Commonwealth Caribbean

Jason Haynes, Antonius Hippolyte

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This article argues that although most Caribbean States have in the last 60 years ascended to statehood, colonialism continues to exist in new and variable forms. It relies upon the concept of ‘coloniality’ as advanced by Schneiderman to contend that the international investment law regime, whose history and evolution is rooted in colonialism, relentlessly pursues the economic interests of foreign investors and capital-exporting countries. It draws important connections between historic colonialism and the contemporary regime for the protection of foreign direct investment by situating the Caribbean's experience in the light of the rationales, tropes and methods arising in the past which endure in investment law's domains, as advanced by Schneiderman in his new book, Investment Law's Alibis, namely (a) profitability and privilege; (b) a discourse of improvement; (c) distrust of local self-rule; and (d) construction of legal enclaves. It is argued that each of these features of colonial rule, from a Caribbean perspective, is inscribed in the discourse and practices of the international investment law regime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-145
JournalInternational & Comparative Law Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • public international law
  • coloniality
  • decolonization
  • asymmetry
  • international investment law
  • Caribbean and Latin America


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