America Is Swiftly Marching Towards War!

As I was putting my thoughts together for this article I was forced to reflect upon the state of the developed world as its leaders talk about war. It is no longer if and those who in recent days were getting a bit optimistic that based on the new collaboration between the Iraq Government and the UN Inspectors, have to think again. America is already on the path to war with or without their Allies. Turkey or no Turkey.

On the other hand North Korea is showing its muscles and talking tough to the US. I get the impression that North Korea is being rebellious to the US as a means of sympathizing with Iraq. Many seem to think that the US is backing off from North Korea. My feeling is that America has no need to bother too much about that nation as there are major powers like China, South Korea and Japan capable of taking care of the region and North Korea in particular. That development therefore is not of major concern to the US.

It also falls in line that if the State of Israel was less involved with keeping the Palestinians at bay, there would have been no need for the US to lead the war with Iraq, it would have been Israel with America supplying them and everyone else with arms. We must recognise the fact that America’s economy is fuelled by war. Can you imagine by just mobilising the troops what this has done to the US economy in general. The uniforms for the military men and women must have kept and continue to keep many manufacturers busy. Then it is all about the arms race A war will definitely keep the financial commitment with funds flowing without question. There is the Homeland Security Programmes where by the end of the period of mobilisation, millions would be engaged in this area of activity. I wonder how will these activities which are as a direct result of the impending war on one hand and terrorist attacks on the other, relate to the loss of jobs from peace time activities. I am tempted to believe that in the short run, the employment situation will be positive. Do you remember Trinidad and Guyana when workers were forced into employment adjustment becoming security guards and taxi drivers to keep food on the table? That is the US today!

There is a lot to be said about the US and the state of uncertainty and anxiety. It is a dangerous situation, but for us in the Caribbean, some would have us believe, it is cool down here, it is paradise. We must begin to plan for emergencies. It is a little difficult for many of us who have not experienced the last world war to understand the gravity of the problem. We must begin to mobilise civil society to take decisive actions to weather the storm. I called upon the private sector involved in the distribution of essential food items and medicines to work out a contingency plan and for the Banks to play their part by extending credit terms to cope with the demand for higher levels of inventory.

I suspect that America is heading for a long hot summer with the Muslim world but regardless of the outcome America is fully committed to removing Saddam and his regime and in so doing it meets the need of manufacturers of America's Military suppliers for the land and sea operations. It would have been very likely for America to experience an overstocking of military supplies unless a war takes place. Production would likely to come to a halt. The call for war is to make room for replacement. This is how I understand it.

I must admit that while America is planning their war against Iraq and the world continues to express concerns, even our own Caribbean leaders are placing our need for peace so that we can carry on our business without further disruption. I am not sure America is listening to such pleas at this time. It is a time for war, a time for tears, a time of suffering. Only God can come to our rescue and whatever His decision, He has a time and a purpose under the sun for everything. Those who will rather believe in themselves, this is a time for them to take destiny in their hands or will they join us who believe that God is in charge and let Him work His purpose out while we "keep the faith."


The Week Of Major Meetings In St. Lucia

Firstly, it was the two half day meetings of the National Economic Council on Tuesday and Wednesday, 25th and 26th February, 2003 held at the Sandals La Toc, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon each day.

I have always contended that St. Lucia is the most fortunate among the OECS grouping. We have great minds, capable of rising to any occasion on matters of national importance. I was fully convinced when I took note of members of the Council and their Technical Committee.

It was two days of sharing of ideas, identifying solutions and planning for the future under the chairmanship of Mr. Richard Peterkin. The private sector was fully involved in the programme.

The recommendations of the meetings will be reflected in the NEC proposals regarding the 2003/2004 budget and recommendations on the impending war with Iraq.

Then for the rest of the week it was the 8th Meeting of the African, Caribbean & Pacific - ACP Ministerial Trade Committee on Thursday and Friday 27th and 28th of February 2003. The two day meeting saw representatives from most member nations but it was St. Lucia's task to be gracious host to this august body of esteemed Ministers of External Affairs and Foreign Trade.

The grouping of 77 nations from Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific is the recipient of several millions of Euros which will be primarily used to make the nations competitive in the Global Market place and in so doing equip them to effectively negotiate their position with the developed world.

By the third day which saw the coming together of the ACP and EU in the 4th Joint Ministerial Trade Committee Meeting on Saturday, March 1, 2003, there was a readiness on both sides, to seriously negotiate.

The proceeding's highlight was the speech by St. Lucia's Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony which became the working paper for the business session that followed. The EU Trade Commissioner, Mr. Pascal Lamy met the expectations of most delegates and the meeting was very cordial.

The Caribbean Region had a special session with Mr. Lamy followed by the Regional Private Sector. The day's activity commence at 9:00 a.m. and the last meeting ended at 7:00 p.m.

It is very clear that the EU is willing to put their money where their mouths are and they have allocated millions of Euros, enough for each region to benefit, but it takes effect planning.

St. Lucia continues to benefit from EU assistance and is currently unveiling several programme to support low income earners to acquire their own homes and affording the private sector substantial assistance in equipping them to meet the challenges of trade liberalization and globalization. The NRDF has already begun its campaign to sensitive small business operators of the specific programme of assistance..