Dear Mr. Editor,
Mexico is changing in ways that will profoundly affect its Latin and Caribbean neighbours and, propitiously, the Chastanet-led government has noticed and is not about to forego the benefits promised by Mexico’s rise.
How often in the last ten years have we been urged to look again at this increasingly important regional neighbour, only to impetuously allow myopia to settle in?
On that account, (and as perfunctory as some may see this), Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s recent visit to this regional economic powerhouse heralded and represents a new chapter in bilateral relations between our two countries. To be sure, this landmark visit brought out our collective national pride (the streets of Mexico were lined with the national flag of Saint Lucia) – and the PM’s diplomatic pitch has given much visibility to our small nation.
In a nation hobbled by petty politics, PM Chastanet has managed in just a few months to return respectability, stature and gravitas to the Prime Minister’s Office, and has ushered in a new era of economic diplomacy that will certainly help strengthen relations between Saint Lucia and important regional actors, particularly Mexico.
By all accounts, the PM’s visit to Mexico was ground-breaking – and significant in light of the changing economic circumstances in the EU (Britain after its Brexit vote is no longer a reliable partner) and, perhaps, in NAFTA, if Donald Trump’s threats are to be taken seriously.
Mexico occupies the second worldwide position by the number of Free Trade Agreements in force and is the second-largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America. Above all, it has many natural resources that favour the development of a vast number of production, manufacturing and other investments activities, including those related to renewable energy generation.
Noting the auspicious developments in Mexico in the realm of free trade and consumer markets, PM Chastanet has perceptively recognized the necessity to boost bilateral economic and educational engagement and invite more investment and technical assistance for Saint Lucia’s planned economic transformation.
Despite the internal challenges that Mexico itself faces, one certainly cannot discount its ability to assist Saint Lucia and CARICOM in their pursuit of strategic readjustment and recourse, particularly with regard to correspondent banking and de-risking, disaster vulnerability reduction and climate change resilience.
The effect of such foreign visits is that a lot more leaders and investors are beginning to take notice of Saint Lucia. All progressive leaders understand that if opportunity doesn’t knock, you’ll need to build a door. And that’s exactly what the current Chastanet-led administration is embarking on — from tourism growth and banana production, to direct foreign engagement and climate change management. The gains might not always be immediate or immediately visible, but such exposure and representation will only enable the building of a brand Saint Lucia.
Irrespective of political persuasion and orientation, we have all sat up to take notice of the supremely confident and dignified manner in which PM Chastanet and his government, including the Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee, have represented our country in the region and around the world. I implore you, Prime Minister, to continue the good works on our behalf and we steadfastly continue to believe in your leadership, vision and sincerity.
O. T. Charles