Speaking on Capitol Hill, the home of the United States Congress in Washington, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, declared that “China offers Caribbean countries a lifeline for development in the absence of others”.
Ambassador Sanders told an audience representing the US Congress, the US Government, diplomats and businesspeople from the Caribbean and the US that “we would be ducking an important issue if we did not note the expressed unhappiness in some quarters by the presence of the Peoples Republic of China as a partner in the economic development of the Caribbean”.
But, the Antigua and Barbuda diplomat stressed that: “Without China’s investment over the last decade, the Caribbean region – as in Latin America – would have stagnated, if not reversed”. Sanders explained that “typically, Chinese government loans are for 20 years at 2 per cent interest, and because of them, Caribbean countries have been able build infrastructure, such as seaports, airports, low cost housing, roads and schools”. “No other government, nor commercial or development bank offers such beneficial terms”, Ambassador Sanders said.
Dealing directly with concerns that have been expressed by US government representatives about China’s involvement in the Caribbean, Sir Ronald explained that “Caribbean countries have welcomed Chinese investment, including loans from the Government of China, not because they wish to displace traditional friends or to diminish their valued relations, but because China offers a lifeline for development in the absence of others”.
He continued by saying that: “Today, the majority of CARICOM countries are stable democracies. but these conditions are only sustainable in conditions of sustained development”.
Ambassador Sanders was the lead speaker at the opening the Caribbean Legislative Week on Capitol Hill on June 5, kicking-off Caribbean Heritage Month in the US which attempts to focus attention on the region.
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Ever since the end of the Cold War, America doesn’t see the tiny Caribbean Islands as a necessary partner any longer. That is why they are closing down their military basis and cutting down on any development assistant. And as Bob Marley sang; “When you want to get some food, your brother got to be your enemy”. Meanwhile China have been showing much economic assistant with practically no strings attached, except we need to denounce Taiwan. In the past countries like Russia and China were taboo for any of us to get too close to. Cause that was a signal to the USA that we are embracing communism. Especially those of us that were too close to Cuba. But even Cuba with its limited resources has shown to be a worthy friend in need. Be it not in hard cash, certainly in kind. Whether it was to train our youth in various skills such as doctors and engineers. Or to assist us to get back on our feet after the destruction of a hurricane. And last but not least Venezuela. Chavez started the largest socialistic movement by sharing its natural resource with the entire region. This act was and still is a major thorn in the flesh of the hard core capitalists in America. Oil the lifeline of any country was now being made available to all at very easy terms of payments. Such a gesture was not even displayed by Saudi Arabia to its other alliances in the middle east. It was and still is everyone for himself. And because of the political system they have only a certain section would benefit and benefit they do. Let me make it clear. I am a Capitalist. But I do like certain aspect of socialism. Cause we do have to take care of our fellow man if we claim at the same time to have a Christian heart. I do not subscribe to Communism in its purest form. But than again the early Apostles did practice this system of living. As Jesus told the rich man, go sell what you have, give it to the poor and follow me. I would certainly act like the rich man and walk away. Don’t mind giving some to the poor. America is behaving like that rich young man as well. All the institutions they have created to help the poor countries such as IMF and World Bank are just a sham. They make the poor countries poorer and look after the interest of the rich. One can see how different they handle Greece and Ireland. And not to mention Ukraine and other East Block countries. Our politicians must be really applauded for the job they are doing everyday to keep us afloat amidst this jungle of regulations and systems that are designed to do just one thing. Ensuring we stay we stay were we are. I cannot for the life in me understand why a country like Cuba and Venezuela with the little they have still see it fit to give to others that really are better off then them. I mean we have no shortage of any commodity. There are no sanctions against us. At least not as yet. But we do feel everyday the pressure of things like De-Risking and Tax-Havans and Black-Listing. You name it. Babylon set the rule to make people suffer. I have always wonder how a poor country can become a Tax-Haven. Tax-Havens use to be the rich countries like Switzerland and Lichtenstein, and Monaco. The Places where the rich jet-sets. There is no Jet-setting going on here in our small Islands. And no rich person with place their money in a bank that is not trust worthy and large enough to hold and secure their monies. The fact that we are an ‘independent jurisdiction’ was the only thing we had that we could sell to others in order to keep them having a present here. But that independent is now slowly but surely diminished, and they dictate to us what laws we should passed in order to comply with their system. Otherwise they will ‘Blacklist us’/ Meaning we will get no soft loans and no corresponding banks and no grants. You name it. It is all meant to keep us down. Poor. So far thanks to those friends I just mentioned above we were able to lift our people to a much higher standard of living. People do not really realize this, but we here in the Caribbean by having adopt a policy of ‘Friends of ALL, Enemy of NONE’, has been able to keep us sailing on these rough economic seas. More and more the USA is showing to be very selfish not just to us little ones but to the rest of the world. If it not going their way than it will be the highway. And since they have become the center of the world whether it is economically or military of they place sanctions on you the entire world has to follow, or you will be held accountable in a USA court. Well many countries are now teaming up to defy this. I therefore tip my hat to Cuba to have endured this for over fifty years and still going strong. Cuban people I salute you. But the world should start dealing with this issue. You cannot have a player that when he doesn’t like how things are going just picks up his marble and go about his business, and the game is mashup. I don’t know if BitCoin is the answer but we need to rid ourselves of this situation. Where is the freedom of trade of association, if you cannot trade with whatever country you feel like, because one country says you should not. That is not Free Trade. But the mighty dollar first has to fall. And it can only fall if we stop being dependent on it. I have urged importers to start searching alternative markets for their products. You would be very surprise what other countries can deliver for far less. Starting with the Caribbean/Caricom. Our PM was last in Surinam and he saw the potential that country has to provide products for the Antiguan Market. China is presently the largest producer of consumer items, and yet we buy them from the USA distributor. The world need to be freed from the yoke of the US Dollar. Bit coin may be the answer as no one owns it and no one can claim it. I wonder how trade used be before the US Dollar. Perhaps we should go back to basic.
Antigua Government I know you are quick to say yes to all the Chinese Government’s financial hand-outs to us over the years and saving us from sinking in further debts with IMF and other regional and international bodies, but still have to be wise, because China is not being soo generous for charity purposes only.
They want our land our, waters to do their fishing and to later on try to take over our economy. Antiguans NEVER sell your lands, your birth-rights to any foreigners. Let them rent or lease for a certain period of time.
The Chinese in itself is over populated band passing laws for the families to reduce having babies at a maximum of two children per couple, yer they want to breed down Antigua, like rats when they come here and take over all the restaurants and convenient stores, giving the Syrians quite a scare.
China has poverty like mad, yet the Chinese Government is soo generous to lend or sometimes give millions/billions of dollars away in exchange for land.
LAND is wealthier than all. Save it for ANTIGUANS AND NARBUDANS!
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