Saint Lucia’s former Foreign Minister, Alva Baptiste, has expressed the belief that this country’s external relations are in a ‘diplomatic coma’, with nothing out of the ordinary happening as far as the foreign ministry is concerned.
Baptiste made the comments this week on State of the Nation, aired on Choice Television.
He told Host, Calixte George Jr, that he has heard MPs in the lower house assert that a lot is being done.
However, Baptiste recalled that Prime Minister Allen Chastanet did really give any careful and sensible treatment to external relations.
Baptiste said that was during the debate on the appropriations bill.
“That omission must be viewed in the context of the key role that international cooperation plays at this juncture in time, especially with COVID,” the Laborie MP explained.
He noted that countries cooperate with each other during pandemics.
And he observed that both adversaries and allies are involved in fighting the virus.
Baptiste noted that Saint Lucia joined the Lima group that imposed sanctions on this country’s traditional friend, Venezuela.
He said the sanctions are having a serious and deadly impact on ‘our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.’
Baptiste said it was sad to see the sanctions continue during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In this regard, he observed that it was causing death and destruction in a country in the hemisphere.
“Saint Lucia is a member of the Lima group that is of no value to us,” the former minister declared.
He described the group as a ‘morally bankrupt, mongoose gang’.
“Just imagine, when we were in that fiscal mess in 2011, it was Venezuela that came to our assistance,” Baptiste recalled.
He said Venezuela helped Saint Lucia in education and building infrastructure.
And Baptiste declared that the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is not a fair weather friend.
As a result, he said the party will support its friends whether or not they have something to give.
He spoke of the need for countries in this hemisphere to cooperate and develop the region together.
And the former minister also paid tribute to the help Cuba has given to this country.
“No doubt the sister Island of Cuba has been extremely useful to us and we will continue to cooperate with them,” he stated.
Referring to the US embargo against that country, Baptiste spoke of the need for a new period of engagement with Havana.
He hoped that under the Joe Biden administration, there will be a different foreign policy posture towards Cuba and Venezuela.
Headline photo: Alva Baptiste