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Should Caricom be Wary of US and China Courtships?

The ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to Caribbean Community (Caricom) sees no reason for concern over the recent visits by leaders of the two most powerful countries of the world to this region.

Concerns have been raised in some quarters over the recent visits of U.S. Vice- President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping. Xi has promised $3 billion loan to the region.

Speaking with the media following yesterday’s American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago’s breakfast meeting at Capital Plaza, Port of Spain, Sir Edwin Carrington said that the U.S. and China seeking out Caricom is is nothing new. He added that he is unsure why danger is perceived in the courting of the region by the two nations.

“I was not here for the first visit, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, at all, so I have no idea what was discussed there. As for the second visit, I have not seen any reason why there should be concern, so for the time being I am not in a position to give you an informed response to that.

“When you have a lot of votes, which is what Caricom relatively has, countries will court you for your support on various issues. At the meeting of foreign ministers too, that took place here in Trinidad and Tobago, we had New Zealand, we had Japan and about two others seeking to talk to Caricom on various issues. So I am saying to you the principle of Caricom being sought out by various countries for support for votes is nothing new and nothing surprising,” he assured.

Responding to questions on the $3 billion that has been promised to the region by China and whether it could possibly divide the regional block, Carrington said, “Firstly, as I understand, it is a loan; and secondly, I am not surprised that the countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan rather than the Republic of China are not involved; that is to be expected.

“I don’t even know how those resources are going to be shared up among those who have relations with the Republic of China. I have no more information on this.”

Carrington said although Caricom is always wary of external help, the assistance has to be in the interest of the people and the country. “And I don’t think that Trinidad is new or strange to that phenomena. After all, we have been out there 50 years in the international arena,” he said.


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