St. Lucia Welcomed Important Visitors!

! The past week saw the Government and people of St. Lucia welcoming important visitors to our shores. On Tuesday, January 14, 2003, we welcomed Her Excellency, Mme. Wu Yi, State Councillor of the People’s Republic of China and her Delegation. The relationship between our two countries continues to cordial and productive. There have been several Delegations in recent months but on this occasion, the delegation included Private Sector Executives seeking out business opportunities.

St. Lucia always has the task of explaining the reason for the low level of purchases from People’s Republic of China when so much is being done for our Country. The reason is simple, we are yet to develop direct trading, except for a few companies who are able to buy in quantities of container load.
However, we continue to draw to the attention of the members of the various Delegations, the fact that we purchase substantial amounts of merchandise produced in their Country from third Countries.

The leaders of the St. Lucia Private Sector and Managers of the National Development Corporation met with their counterparts on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 in the conference room of the Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation. The Business Executives from the People’s Republic of China are involved in areas of Production and Finance which include the following areas:- Electronics, Art and Craft, Agriculture, Finance and Investment, Civil Aviation, Telecommunication. Jewelry, Broadcasting, Real Estate, etc. One of the companies is currently investing in Cuba in the areas of Agriculture, Processing and Broadcasting. The stage has been set for direct communication between Business Executives of our two countries. There is need for follow up to the discussions held.

It is time for our relationship which is well established in cultural and social areas to be expanded to include trade. In this regard, I believe that the time has come for a visit of a Delegation representing all the productive sectors to visit a major trade fair in the People’s Republic of China at the earliest opportunity. It is my humble opinion that the initial negotiations should include Officials from the Ministries of Commerce and International Trade.

The visit of the Delegation ended in fine style with a Football Match at the recently completed Stadium in Vieux-Fort which was won by the visiting team. It must have been a great joy for the visiting team to win a match in a Stadium that is a gift from the Government and People of their Country. However, I am certain that in the case of the business relationships that will be forged as a result of this historic visit, there will be no losers, it will be a Win – Win situation. Both parties will win but we can add a third win as the consumers will be big winners that will produce a Win – Win – Win result. I am confident that the local Entrepreneurs can rely on the support of His Excellency , Gu Huaming, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Saint Lucia and Officials of the Embassy.

Then at the end of the week, it was time to welcome President Bill Clinton. On Saturday January 18, 2003, St. Lucian were graced with the presence of great man in the Person of President Clinton. Surprise, Surprise, he visited the Castries Market. What excitement? He touched the heart of the many Vendors, housewives and all those who gathered to see the Man in Person. We see him on Television, hear him speak, but it was time to touch him. Many St. Lucians got the opportunity to shake his hand, some got more, especially our entertainers, he posed for photographs with them. I was humbled to share a few hours in a gathering that must have been for everyone present – a special moment in time!

I was particularly happy to see the other OECS Prime Ministers who came to St. Lucia to discuss matters of assistance with President Clinton and share the evening with him. I enjoyed every moment. I must congratulate the Musicians, Drummers, Singers, Dancers and Performers for a well executed show. Our Professional Musicians were well received by President Clinton. The ambiance was great. It was a night to remember and so will I. It is treasured memory.

My article published last weekend “ President Clinton’s Visit, A Welcomed Gesture” was in many ways right on target. Today, we can say President Clinton is a friend of St. Lucia and we can rely on his support. It was evident that he enjoyed every moment of his short stay on our island. I am certain he will come again and again. St. Lucia stands to benefit tremendously from this visit and we have already begun to see tangible evidence regarding the work on the HIV - AIDS as his support team was left behind to commence the process.

Many debate the possibility that Tourism will be given a boost as a result of President Clinton’s visit, I am inclined to believe that it will. However, it is for the local media to ensure that the world knows what a great time he had so that they will want to follow in his footsteps. The stories must be posted on all the available media websites on the internet. This story will be, and if you miss my article last week you can catch up by visiting I mentioned in my last article that it is very likely that President Clinton can do more for us now than when he was in office.

Keep the Faith! God is in Charge!!!