FOREIGN POLICY TO BE DRIVEN BY DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENT NEEDS NOT PHOTO-OPS
Saint Lucia’s Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation has declared that the Saint Lucia Labour Party Government’s foreign policy will be driven by the country’s domestic development needs and must therefore focus on mutually beneficial relationships and results, not photo-ops and empty associations.
Minister Baptiste made the declaration during his Opening Address at an Orientation workshop for the newly appointed Heads of the Country’s overseas missions held at the Bay Gardens Inn on Friday 11th February 2022. Explaining the basis for a fresh approach to Saint Lucia’s foreign policy, the External Affairs Minister said, “Saint Lucia’s development agenda and its accompanying priorities will be the centrifugal force that determines the manner in which we interact with international actors. I envision a transition away from the tendency to be reactive, and an inclination towards much greater proactivity. At this juncture, it is important to accentuate the point, that while Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre is pre-occupied with putting the national house in order, he wants to underpin the foreign policy of Saint Lucia with an economic sub-strata that advances sustainable development and protects the people by putting them first.”
Addressing the role of the Foreign Ministry in this new dispensation, the Minister told the diplomats “The reality is that in the current fiscal climate, the Ministry of External Affairs must serve as the financial intermediary between external sources of development assistance and the greater governmental machinery. And to serve well in our role as the preeminent procurer of financial assistance, we must undertake a serious and thorough reorientation of all existing Embassies, Consulates and Missions. There is a need to align each and every Embassy, Consulate and Mission with specific development priorities. There is also a need to identify and appoint focal points in our line ministries, who through Capital, can furnish our Embassies with proposals, guidance and the necessary support to ensure that we capitalize on each and every opportunity that is within our reach. Then there is the need to put in place a coordinating mechanism which will cause our diplomatic missions, Capital and focal points in line ministries to be much more timely and efficient in accessing and implementing development assistance.”