CASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC – Opposition Leader Stephenson King Monday called on the St. Lucia government to release the findings of a Foreign Policy Committee established eight months ago to review the island’s future relationship with Taiwan.
The three member group headed by former prime minister and University of the West Indies (UWI) senior lecturer, Professor Vaughan Lewis, has submitted its report to the government after a three month exercise.
Foreign Minister Alva Baptiste has acknowledged that a copy of the report had been handed over to the government, adding “one of the fundamental reasons why we had the external relations review is to determine how we can strengthen existing diplomatic ties and how we can forge new relations and alliances.
“The review is completed and I have been presented with the final report and the government of St. Lucia will be meeting to ventilate the various sections of the report and thereafter we will make a formal announcement on the way forward for the external relations for us here in St. Lucia,” he added.
The Kenny Anthony administration following the November 28 general elections last year said that it would be reviewing its relationship with Taiwan that was established in 2006 when the United Workers Party (UWP) won the general election.
The previous Anthony administration had enjoyed diplomatic relations with China that regards Taiwan as a renegade province.
King said that it is now eight months since the government statement regarding its diplomatic relations with Taiwan and the country needs to know where it stands on the issue.
King said he also wanted the government to make public its position on joining the Venezuela-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA).
“We are now eight months into this calendar year and the government of Taiwan while still present in St. Lucia and we assume that diplomatic relations are still on-going, we find that government has not actively engaged the Taiwanese in their programmes of bi-lateral cooperation,” King said.
The former prime minister said he wanted a definitive position on ALBA given the positions adopted by the grouping on a number of issues including the ongoing civil war in Syria.
“It is frightening to note that the Venezuelan government has to date demonstrated it commitment to the government of Syria by providing a level of assistance in that government’s current operations in Syria.
“This is of major concern to the opposition as it speaks very clearly of what may very well be a checkered image of the government’s foreign policy,” he said.
On his return from an ALBA meeting last year, Prime Minister Anthony said he was invited as an observer and not a member.
He said that while his government cannot ignore partnerships in the current economic climate he had no intention of joining the group whose members include St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.