UWP Condemns Foreign Minister’s Comments
13 August 2021
The United Workers Party has expressed “deep concern” over recent statements by External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste which it said were disrespectful of Saint Lucia’s longstanding international and regional partners.
The UWP said that at a recent press briefing, Baptiste referred to the LIMA group—comprising countries such as Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru and other Latin American and Caribbean countries, as being a “morally bankrupt mongoose gang.”
It said while the United Workers Party respects a new St Lucia Labour Party administration’s right to review foreign policy, “we consider such egregious statements potentially harmful to Saint Lucia’s foreign relations, especially when our country is grappling with a worsening world pandemic.”
Says party leader Allen Chastanet: “It has been barely a week since his appointment as Minister for External Affairs and already the notoriously garrulous Mr. Baptiste has returned to his old habit of tossing verbal insults at our international partners. The SLP has long demonstrated a proclivity to attack foreigners, whether investors or visitors. This is a dangerous policy that could have far-reaching repercussions for Saint Lucians at home and abroad.”
The Opposition Leader added: “One has to question why the priority of the new SLP administration is not to quickly as possible ensure Saint Lucia receives donated vaccines from the United States. We have already received alarming news that Saint Lucia is not on the list of the first Caribbean countries receiving vaccines from the US. At this time when we are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, we cannot afford the negative rhetoric recently spewed by and the new foreign minister. He should be spending less time on vendettas while doing his utmost to ensure Saint Lucia is not left behind.”
The Opposition Leader also questioned why the SLP administration has not signed the requisite documentation with the United States for Saint Lucia to receive vaccines and whether this was a deliberate decision, especially in light of recent pronouncements by the External Affairs Minister
Chastanet reminded that the United Workers Party Government had prided itself on this country’s foreign policy. He said: “We worked hard to restore Saint Lucia’s image and our regional and international partnerships. The evidence is well documented. This is hardly the time to destroy these gains, when we need to maintain and increase good friendships with countries that traditionally have shared our ideals”.