External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste has asserted that Saint Lucia’s external relations were practically in a coma under the previous United Workers Party (UWP) administration.
The Laborie MP was responding to a reporter’s question regarding opposition leader Allen Chastanet’s call for clarity from the government on solidarity with Western countries respecting the war in Ukraine.
Baptiste has stated that domestic development needs and not empty associations or ‘photo ops’ will drive Saint Lucia’s foreign policy as the country seeks mutually beneficial relationships.
“The former Prime Minister would just take sides,” the External Affairs Minister asserted regarding Chastanet.
But he explained that the labour administration under Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre is cautious about navigating very sensitive issues.
“You have seen the Philip J. Pierre administration speak very clearly to the situation and join with CARICOM and the OECS where we coordinate foreign policy to condemn the invasion of Ukraine,” Baptiste said of Russia’s military incursion on February 24.
“We do not have to go overboard in trying to prove a point to the leader of the opposition,” the Minister declared on the sidelines of Tuesday’s session of parliament.
According to Baptiste, also responsible for International Trade, Civil Aviation and Diaspora Affairs, the opposition leader, while in office as Prime Minister, had an opportunity to demonstrate how he would respond to diplomatic issues.
However, he asserted that Chastanet failed miserably.
“So we are not going to take any type of advice from the former Prime Minister because he didn’t have advice for himself when he was there to actually deal with external relations with great dexterity,” the Laborie MP expressed.