The United Workers Party Toronto Caucus expresses deep disappointment in the Honourable Alva Baptiste, Saint Lucia’s Minister of External Affairs, International Trade, Civil Aviation, and Diaspora Affairs, for his recent decisions regarding Saint Lucia’s relationship with the Canadian diaspora community.
The Honourable Minister’s decision to hold a town hall meeting in Ottawa and none in Toronto, the largest diaspora community of Saint Lucians living in Canada, was a missed opportunity to address critical issues affecting the Toronto community.
While the Honourable Minister attended an independence gala in Toronto, a gala does not provide the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues with the Toronto community, and town hall meetings should have been held in both cities.
The Toronto community was looking forward to engaging with the Minister on diaspora issues, trade, issues affecting Saint Lucia, opportunities for Saint Lucians in Toronto who want to establish businesses in Saint Lucia, or who have access to trade markets in Toronto for local Saint Lucian businesses.
The decision to not hold a town hall meeting in Torotnto suggests a lack of interest in engaging with the Toronto community, which is concerning, given its size, and the significant role that this community plays in the overall development of Saint Lucia.
It is essential that our elected officials engage with our communities especially those where the largest population of Saint Lucian reside, listen to their concerns, and work towards addressing them.
We urge the Honourable Minister to take the necessary steps to rectify this situation and engage with the Toronto community in the near future.
Furthermore, we are deeply disturbed by the Minister’s recent announcement of the intention to establish a High Commission in Ottawa. This decision is an unnecessary and unjustified duplication of the services already provided by the consulate office in Toronto, the burden for which the salaries and administrative costs will fall on Saint Lucian tax payers.
The United Workers Party Toronto Caucus urges the Honourable Minister to reconsider his decisions regarding the Toronto diaspora community and the establishment of a High Commission in Ottawa. We call on the Government of Saint Lucia to focus on building strong relationships with the diaspora community and using its resources efficiently.
We remain committed to working with the Honourable Minister and the Government of Saint Lucia to build a strong relationship between Saint Lucians in Canada and Saint Lucia.
SOURCE: United Workers Party Toronto Caucus