St Lucia Governor-General thanks Cuba and Venezuela, announces decision to join ALBA
- *Extract from the 'Throne Speech' of the Governor-General of St
Lucia,April 23, 2013
"Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, our hemisphere is predominantly Hispanic.
Thus, my Government will give priority to deepening and strengthening its
relationship with Latin America whether through established hemispheric
institutions such as the OAS or the newly created �Community for Latin
America and the Caribbean�, known by the acronym CELAC.
"My Government continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba who
have made an invaluable contribution to the development of our country. We
remain grateful to the Government and People of Cuba for the many Saint
Lucians who have been trained as doctors, engineers, and more recently,
nurses, all at the expense of the Government of Cuba and its people.
"Many among us continue to give thanks for the Cuban Eye Care Programme
which helped to restore defective eyesight. Cuba has asked us for nothing
in return, no favours, no commitment, no cause to champion.
"Likewise, we re-affirm our friendship with the Government and people of
Venezuela. It must never be forgotten that Venezuela stood at our side at
our Independence in 1979. Venezuela was the first Latin American country to
establish diplomatic relations with Saint Lucia.
"Venezuelan investors have stood with us in good times and in bad times.
For example, WINERA, a company jointly owned by the Governments of the
Windward Islands and Venezuelan interests, was established to produce boxes
for the export of bananas. With the decline of the banana industry, it has
had to diversify its production and export. Despite the challenges, WINERA
has opted to remain with us.
"My Government plans to explore air links with Latin America, particularly
Brazil and Panama. It will look to appoint a non-resident Ambassador to
Brazil and the Latin American countries. We hope to thaw the glacial
perceptions of Central America which were formed during the era of bananas,
so that we may dialogue to promote mutual understanding of each other�s
"Mr. President, Mr Speaker, the central message of the report on our
external relations is that Saint Lucia cannot remain in splendid isolation
from the rest of the world. We have few resources to expend on diplomatic
"We have little to leverage except our integrity, honour, sagacity and of
course, the vote that our sovereignty confers in regional and international
fora. In everything we do, we must be strategic and choose wisely. In order
to survive in a world that hardly knows the value of friendship, be it
historical or otherwise, we have no choice but to widen our circles of
solidarity and friendship to secure support for our efforts to develop our
"*In that context, my Government believes that the time has come for Saint
Lucia to join its sister states of Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the
Grenadines and Dominica and become a full member of the Bolivarian Alliance
for the Peoples of Our America, ALBA."*
*The full speech is at **
Professor Emeritus, UWI (Trinidad)
Mob 782-9260; H 628-9429
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