President Clinton's Visit A Welcomed Gesture!!!

The new year broke with the threat of war, cloning of babies, promising stock prices, increasing oil prices, turmoil in many countries near and far, retrenchment in the work place, company closures, insolvencies, mostly bad news. But as I always maintain, the world goes on and we in St. Lucia have to keep a positive note and do what we have to do. For God sake don't give up and get into the watch and see mode. It is time for us to take over the stage.

The news of President Clinton's visit could not come at a better time. It is however unfortunate that there had to be so much negative publicity. While President Clinton may not be everyone's idol, it must be given to him that he is a man of great charm and while some of us may argue that during his term of office the Caribbean did not benefit much, I am surely old enough to know that many times, a President once popular in office could yield even greater power outside of office. The many considerations that are necessary for Presidential decisions are not necessary as a private citizen. One thing is certain that President Clinton has supported the Black cause more than most previous Presidents. His association with Black people is not cosmetic. I feel he is genuine about his relationship with Black people. His office is located in a Black community and his wife is now the Senator for New York.

People of colour have definitely benefitted from President Clinton's presidency. Let us see President Clinton in his new role as an Agent of Economic Change. I sincerely believe that investment could flow into St. Lucia as a result of his visit. I am anxious to hear the composition of his entourage. I do not hope it would be a breach of protocol to make an open plea for investments in all sectors of our economy. Sometimes, we have to be undiplomatic to get the things we need. St. Lucia needs Venture Capitalists and investors who are willing to establish branches of their operations in St. Lucia.

Let us tell it like it is, our banks have a lot of money, but their policies are risk averse. In the area of investment, everything is based on risk. It is very difficult to project beyond that immediate moment. That is why CNN and other major news networks have breaking news. Certain activities are similar to coming of Christ.
The past two weeks have been hectic in relation to the news of President Clinton's visit and what a moment of excitement it continues to be. Everyone trying to asked the question of each other - Did you get an Invitation? Many are trying to develop their own list and taking bets that so and so must be on the list. For my part, two hundred persons to be selected from among the nation's movers and shakers will pose a massive headache for the organisers. I sincerely hope that an invitation to this function is not a definitive moment for separating the sheep from the goat as to who is who in selecting the top 200 professionals and entrepreneurs in St. Lucia.

There are many who will receive invitations and will not attend as there are also many who should have been invited but weren't, due to capacity of the venue. That's life! That too shall pass. I am most interested in the results of the visit. I sincerely feel if we present a positive picture backed by a passionate invitation to investors, we shall benefit in the short term.

Every effort should be made to get President Clinton and his entourage to see as much of the island as possible. Maybe a helicopter tour is in order. I believe that one of the attractions for an investor is the beauty of this destination. St. Lucia is scenic, with friendly people, filled with excitement and all the ingredients for the "Good Life". In my writings I promote St. Lucia as a "Premier destination for business and pleasure." This is the theme, I use to promote St. Lucia. Visit

I would like to suggest that like in the tourism sector, it is time that the NDC promote FAM tours for investors with a permanent exhibition of services being offered by companies and individual consultants. I feel that any initial project of this nature could be launched at the Point Seraphine Duty Free Shopping area. Tourism is our business, let us add investment to our business.

President Clinton's visit should turn entrepreneurs on. The objective here must be to create a bridge to link St. Lucia and America, the investment heartbeat of the Caribbean and Latin America. America is not only our political ally but we must ensure that America is also our economic/investment ally. We must seize this moment. It does have economic/investment value. Let us rally behind our leaders and wish all of St. Lucia that this visit will open a window of opportunity that will transit our economy on a truly diversified path.

Agriculture can have a new meaning for many who have struggled long and hard. Have we considered "Hydroponics" a method of growing vegetables/plants in gravel where water containing the necessary nutrients is pumped. What about contract manufacturing? Components parts are still in demand. When it comes to services - America stands out. There are many opportunities for strategic alliances in the services sector. What about Health Tourism? There are many opportunities available but we need a Champion. I think President Clinton could be that person. Can this be that our time has come for a break through in direct foreign investments?

Keep the Faith, God is in Charge!
January 18, 2003