Foreign Affairs Advisor says: ‘We are on our Own!’

Special Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Vaughan Lewis claims the former United Workers Party government refused to inform Saint Lucians about the harsh truths of the world economy.
“The challenges which we in our country face today should have been well understood by our people in the period between the end of 2006 and the end of 2011,” said Dr Lewis at a recent Labour Party conference. “That time was what we call a time of transition; a time of changes in the world which would surely have a bad effect on our country’s progress unless we took positive action. But did you notice that nobody in government spoke to you about such things. Between those years, 2006 [to] 2011, the world went through financial difficulties, economic recessions they called it—twice. The biggest countries in the world got into trouble. The world as we then knew it got into trouble. Just as Obama took up his job in the White House he found the American economy was sliding downwards.”
Lewis reminded his audience that, “In the last fifteen years or so the big companies in industry in the United States have decided to split their money, investments between their own country and China.
“Things are cheaper today to produce in China,” said the former Prime Minister and former member of the United Workers Party.                 “They are cheaper to produce in China than they are to produce Saint Lucia. Today China is holding huge amounts of American dollars in their banks. The United States can no longer play with its own money as they used to do. They have to think about what the Chinese minister of finance will say and do. That is one of the new important realities of today’s world. The United States cannot pretend that China does not exist. . .Those who pretend that China does not exist do so at their own peril; for that is behaving as though the United States does not exist.”
Dr Lewis then quoted Prime Minister Kenny Anthony speaking to Caricom.
Said Dr Anthony: “China is on course to become the world’s largest economy in the next few years and a super power in its own right.”
Dr Lewis said that deceased former prime minister Sir John Compton had recognized this just before the end of his life in 2007.
“In his [Compton’s] judgment he sought to put things right by recognizing China. You know the rest of that story,” said Dr Lewis, adding that he would leave that issue for another time.
Dr Lewis’ statement comes as the St Lucia Labour Party government has yet to take a definitive position on St Lucia’s relations with China and Taiwan. The Labour Party in 1997 had established diplomatic relations with China over Taiwan, while the United Workers party—amid much controversy—had returned to relations with Taiwan in 2007. While in opposition the St Lucia Labour Party had been highly critical of the Taiwanese Ambassador who served in St Lucia, Tom Chou, who has since been replaced.
Other issues that Lewis touched on during his address to the Labour Party crowd was the Euro crisis.
“The British are taking pains to let us know that it is not their fault. It is the fault of the new world that is emerging. They are telling us wake up and smell the coffee, begin to find your own way, because big as we are and much bigger than you, we are also having difficulty finding our way through all the changes in the world. Those who have been powerful in the world for so many years are finding that they have to balance their power against the power of those who are rising. In that situation the powers of the world will not have to much time for us. We are on our own as never before!”

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