The prime minister of Saint Lucia Dr Kenny Anthony, who was in attendance at the Group of 77+China meeting summit in Bolivia this past weekend, stated on social media that “Saint Lucia is not paying a cent for my attendance.”
I take this to mean no per diem; no airline ticket; no loss of service for two days out of Saint Lucia as prime minister and minister of finance, and probably no return benefit for the country -- so who benefits from being at the summit?
For some time now, Saint Lucia has been relying on the goodwill of foreign governments for various forms of assistance. It is a known fact that the socialist ideology and policy implementation of the St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government is imbedded in the governance of Saint Lucia.
Repeatedly, this SLP administration’s heavy reliance on the socialist bloc of nations in Latin America is most noticeable, as bilateral trade and agreements are fortified within the circle of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), and PetroCaribe.
Many would have preferred to see an independent country like Saint Lucia stand up and refuse to provide the return favours that are associated with attending these meetings, summits and conventions, with the offer of “free transportation” among other tangibles.
But that’s not all. One has to ask the question what really is being discussed and negotiated -- whether bad or half-hearted deals and on whose behalf?
Already Saint Lucia is on the verge of collapse -- unable to pay its bills and finance basic essentials. Therefore, is the government of Saint Lucia obligated to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Cuban President Raul Castro, and at what cost?
How will top-level decision makers be impartial and prudent or will it be a matter of defending the indefensible in a much larger problem, whereby Saint Lucia owes favours to a socialist bloc of nations such as ALBA, which it is unable to repay?
Or will Saint Lucia simply be owned by its creditors: Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia, and Iran in spearheading their foreign policy in the region?
This is pivotal, as the current wave of development in Saint Lucia continues to thrive on non-democratic ideology and policy positions that are counterproductive to economic growth and development -- but instead thrive on donations and financial support from ALBA.
Further, who’s calling the shots as Venezuela’s problems deepen, unable to stop the flow of oil and money to governments that are facing difficulties, unable to solve their own problems at home?
Dr Kenny Anthony has to decide whether he intends to participate responsibly in governance and to provide transparent leadership.
By the look of things it seems that the tail is now wagging the dog in an administration that stands on ideological marginalization -- simply following what it is told to do.
So, if Saint Lucia didn’t pay, tell us who did... and what quid pro quo was involved.