Put Saint Lucia First

ONE only needs to listen closely to U.S. President Donald Trump speak about the prosperity that he wishes for his country to recognize that when he repeatedly said that he was intent on making America great again during his stump speeches that he meant so by any means necessary.

To his credit, Trump has embarked on an ambitious corporate tax cut – from 35% to 21% — which he believes would benefit millions of American employees and households. So attractive is Trump’s tax cut that multinational technology company, Apple, has declared that it will bring US$245 billion in overseas profits home to America, Trump said, adding that total investment into the U.S. economy by Apple over the next five years will amount to over US$350 billion.

During his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last Monday, Trump declared that among his main priorities via several reform policies is to truly make America great again: “We are creating an environment that attracts capital, invites investment, and rewards production. America is the place to do business, so come to America where you can innovate, create and build.”

What he said next should rest on the minds of every leader across the globe for quite some time: “I believe in America. As president of the United States, I will always put America first just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also. But America first does not mean America alone. When the United States grows, so does the world. American prosperity has created countless jobs all around the globe and the drive for excellence, creativity, and innovation in the U.S. has led to important discoveries that help people everywhere live more prosperous and far healthier lives.”

Clearly, Trump’s philosophy of America capitalizing on its competitive advantage takes precedence over any other country’s fight for survival albeit he throws in the caveat that when America prospers, so, too, does the rest of the world. However, what he fails to admit is that whenever America realizes that it is met with what it deems a disadvantageous situation, it raises a red flag in protest at other countries which – depending on their size and might – and erases those pluses being enjoyed there.

But Trump is not alone in the game, as even the European Union’s crackdown on what it deems tax havens is being seen by many as limiting people’s choices in where they should rest their nest eggs. Despite the Caribbean and other regions of the world suffering from disparate trade arrangements with both the U.S. and the EU, the region is now being forced to amend laws which, not merely to curb illegal activities, but basically wipe out its viability as an offshore investment option.

With the region still working towards shaking off the stigma of being left behind the so-called First World countries by decades, one wonders whether it would ever be in the enviable position of being able to not only say that it proudly stands by its sovereignty but that it also puts itself first just as the so-called big players often consider themselves.

If Saint Lucia truly is a part of the global village, then maybe our leaders truly need to step up by ramping up their voices and stating unequivocally that they put Saint Lucia first and the partisan interests of other nations second. Of course, the fact that we still see ourselves as an independent nation still grappling with a dependency syndrome militates against such luxuries.

Nevertheless, we can at least try.

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