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Friday, April 5, 2013


Below are the recommendations of Committee to Review the External Relations of Saint Lucia. The committee comprised:
Honourable Dr. Vaughn Lewis, SLC CBE (Chairman)

Dr. Tennyson Joseph: Head of the Political Science Department at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

Dr. Mark Kirton: Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies at the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies, Saint Augustine Campus

Dr. Julian R. Hunte:  who formerly served as Minister for External Affairs, President of the United Nations General Assembly and Permanent Representative of Saint Lucia to the United Nations

Mr. Malcolm Charles: Business consultant and former President of the Saint Lucia Employers’ Federation.

The full report is available on



1.  It is our view therefore that Saint Lucia’s location within these emerging, and sometimes apparently competitive, multilateral frameworks in the Hemisphere, must therefore be directed at participating in activities that speak to the priority of the terms on which its two main objectives,  and the search for new economic linkages can be assured.

These two main objectives would be, first, seeking support for modes of physical and economic integration, in Saint Lucia’s immediate OECS and CARICOM sub-regions, that would enhance scale of economic and related operations; and secondly, seeking support that would, given their physical location, provide appropriate resources, and non-dominating modes of co-operation, that can ensure the security of the state, in an era when the dominant threat to state sovereignty and autonomy is the pervasive presence of the trade in narcotics that itself derives from its hemispheric neighbours. 

A collaborationist strategy with relevant states, within the framework of its multilateral engagement with the wider Latin American sphere would also help to balance the necessary intervention of the largest hemispheric participant, the United States. And some OECS states have already pointed their diplomacy in such a direction.

Such a diplomatic orientation necessitates closer co-operation and collectivist diplomacy, within the OECS sub-region in what is a new, wider geo-political and geo-economic arena that is necessarily pressing itself.

We therefore urge that government seek to continue to explore the possibility of more cohesive arrangements with Trinidad & Tobago, in terms, in particular of infrastructural integration, and within limits that do not offend the CARICOM Treaty, but which can upgrade its, and other OECS countries, capabilities for domestic and external action in specific spheres where scale is critical to identified economic priorities on the sub-region.

Saint Lucia, while recognising the complexity of negotiations towards an FTA needs to urge CARICOM to conclude these as quickly as is convenient, so that Saint Lucia can have a reasonably settled sense of the new context in which it will inevitably have to function. 


It is recommended that the OECS Secretariat develops and adopts a Foreign Policy Mandate, alongside its existing mandates in Economics and Social Policy. We feel that it would be useful for the OECS to develop a caucus to provide specific focus to the policy making in the current turbulent environment.

It is recommended that a framework involving the government of France to deepen relations with French Guiana and to identify specific advantages to Saint Lucia and CARICOM.   

It is recommended that Saint Lucia pursues the deliberate strengthening of the human resource and technical capacity of the METC to permit it to work in conjunction with the Ministry of Sustainable Development, to increase St. Lucia’s capacity for effective participation in, and to maximize benefits from, the global environmental frameworks and initiatives, such as the Rio Conferences, the SIDS discussions and the ongoing work of the AOSIS

As a first step, St. Lucia must with urgency, formally join the CCJ.  


And we can conclude that the objective of diversifying our efforts in that, and related regards, should, from a medium term point of view, continue to be urgently pursued within the wider framework of the regional tourism organisations. This should be reinforced by a national approach towards representation in countries beyond the North Atlantic, which we indicate later in this Report.  

Nonetheless, we can assert that the substantive aspects of relations between Saint Lucia and the United States are unlikely to be predominantly on a country-to-country basis. Rather they are likely to be pursued in the context of CARICOM-United States relations, with an emphasis on, firstly, the issues of the nature of CARICOM access to United States markets; secondly, on and the manner in which Saint Lucia can take advantage of burgeoning financial services activities, without infringing complex United States legislation (as Antigua and Barbuda has experienced); and thirdly, in respect of coming to terms with the narcotics trade. 

It is advisable for Saint Lucia to closely interact with major Latin American states that have been developing similar reservations, and whose diplomacy now seems to be turning towards influencing the US to take a more multi-pronged approached to the diversity of problems involved.

The most fruitful posture, in our view, of Saint Lucia-Canada relations is to take continuing advantage of Canada’s oversight and representation of CARICOM countries in the international financial institutions. This should be done not only in terms of advancing the case for assistance in relation to present recessionary conditions, but in insisting that CARICOM countries, even as so-called “middle income” countries, continue to require developmental assistance in the face of needed adjustments to the changing international economic environment that focuses on liberalised production and trade in an era of antagonism to protected arrangements for small and disadvantaged states-economies.   

It is in the interest of countries like Saint Lucia to ensure the maintenance of that intellectual and policy focus at the top of the development agenda, including that elaborated within the framework of the EPA. In that regard, the country must maintain its operational focus within the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), as the medium towards influencing the development institutions. 

Saint Lucia, located as it is in immediate proximity to the French department of Martinique (as is Dominica, placed between Martinique and Guadeloupe), should, within the framework of the OECS, make a decisive effort to seek to utilise resources so committed to regional economic integration to facilitate the construction of the proposed Economic Union.

Saint Lucia should seek to persuade the Government of France, and therefore the European Union, to perceive our effort of regional economic integration precisely as intended to facilitate, over time, the maximum achievement of economies of scale that is required for this sub-region to participate in the wider Caribbean region and in the evolving global economy, and so to permit the inclusion of the Departments of Martinque and Guadeloupe within it, to the maximum degree constitutionally and practically possible.

It is, in our view, an anomaly to perceive or present diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as an alternative to recognition of the PRC, a now global economic and political player. Any decision to maintain recognition of Taiwan will be perceived  in the arenas of international diplomacy, and pre-eminently at the United Nations, as inevitably temporary, the result of specific contingent circumstances and objectives of the Saint Lucian state, and therefore subject to change and lacking final certainty. It is our view that Saint Lucia will be perceived, as similar others are presently perceived as mere “players”.

We do not believe that at this point, diplomatic representation in India would be optimal. But we would recommend a deliberate attempt on the part of our Missions in the United Kingdom, United States and at the United Nations, to seek to sustain a continuing diplomatic contact with that country, in the pursuit of economic development possibilities.

We believe also, that Singapore, if not for Saint Lucia alone, but for the OECS states, can become an important staging post in the search for investment from that part of the world. 

Some development issues are identified since a “centrepiece” of the new understanding is a $60 million development partnership that will be implemented over a four-year period. An important component is climate change to which $17.3 million is allocated with a focus on minimising the negative effects of climate change and reducing the effects of natural disasters. This component should be pursued by Saint Lucia as it seeks to rehabilitate its physical infrastructure which was damaged in Hurricane Tomas. Further, another component is the improvement of “people to people linkages through volunteer programs, scholarships and fellowships” to which $16.5 million has been contributed and this should be targeted by Saint Lucia as part of its human resource development plans. 

Additionally, $16 million has been tagged for direct assistance for countries in the region which will be distributed based on need and in direct consultation with CARICOM. It is recommended that Saint Lucia should prepare a short-term project with immediate impact and in this way, set the stage for sustained engagements with Australia.

Possible niche areas that can be considered, including joint ventures in maritime transport as an alternative to expensive inter-island air transport. This can also have a favourable effect on trade, allowing for the cheaper transport of bulk goods, as well as the movement of people. Additionally, increased interest in the Caribbean by Australians allows for the development of multi -destination tourism arrangements which can be attractive to St. Lucia.

It is recommended that Saint Lucia prepares and presents a formal project directed at human and social development in small communities for possible funding by Australia.

One can note here that the focus on infrastructural development must be considered of importance to Saint Lucia since it can bring economic benefits to the country through collaboration such as increased air and maritime transport initiatives as well as support for Saint Lucia’s domestic infrastructural rehabilitation and development.

We believe that Saint Lucia should use this opportunity to leverage stronger economic and political engagement in the context of a changing regional environment. Of significance to Saint Lucia is the fact that Brazil is currently investing in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, and the development of further linkages with Brazil could attract investment from that state. Further, its market of approximately 200 million people offers a new opportunity for the expansion of Saint Lucian exports. 

Currently there is no active Saint Lucian diplomatic presence in any major Latin American capital. Given Brazil’s increasing influence in the hemisphere and its interest in the Caribbean it is recommended that Saint Lucia engage Brazil as a matter of urgency and craft a strategic agenda to promote relations with Brazil and the UNASUR states. This can be achieved using the gradualist approach by:

Immediately utilising Saint Lucia diplomatic presence in Washington D.C. at the Organization of American States (OAS) and in New York at the United Nations (UN) to develop stronger bilateral linkages.

Saint Lucia should appoint in the first instance a non-resident Ambassador to Brazil with accreditation to the other UNASUR states and establish a Latin American Unit at the Ministry of External Affairs to co-ordinate linkage arrangements.

As resources become available, the government of Saint Lucia should establish on its own, or in collaboration with the OECS, or with selected OECS states, resident diplomatic representation in Brasilia (with similar UNASUR accreditation) to actively pursue the engagement with other South American states.

We suggest it may be appropriate at this time for Saint Lucia to participate with other OECS states in designing a clear OECS policy framework for engagement with ALBA, as the grouping seeks to take advantage of the increasing presence of new hemispheric actors in the region, to advance both national economic development and enhanced sub-regional physical and economic integration. 

It is therefore recommended that Saint Lucia consider the feasibility of utilising this facility, in the context of its possible use in a joint venture arrangement with Venezuela for a storage and distribution facility on the island. 

Saint Lucia should, as part of a new foreign policy thrust, seek to develop within the framework of the Mexico- CARICOM agreement, a strategic alliance with Mexico.

It is recommended that Saint Lucia pursue an OECS-wide strategy to sensitise Latin American states of the need to support its position that small, open and vulnerable economies must be treated as a distinct category and appropriate policies fashioned from that perspective. In addition, states must be fully sensitised that export trade does not present any challenges to the larger economies of Latin America or the world trading system.

We therefore propose that a mutual defense and security agreement between Latin America and CARICOM states such as Saint Lucia could be established, and can serve to facilitate increased intelligence gathering and sharing, as search and rescue operations, training and intervention in times of natural disasters.

We recommend the development of linkages between Saint Lucia and Latin America and the creation of programmes and policies aimed at providing the environment for the strengthening of economic relations, especially in the areas of tourism, culture and music, language training and services. It will therefore require involvement at both the state and private sector levels to actively promote the establishment of stronger economic and trade linkages through the development of networks in order to enhance the potential for mutually beneficial trade opportunities.

It is recommended that in collaboration with the Private Sector, Saint Lucia should embark on a programme to provide training in English as a second language to Latin American countries, and to the Francophone Caribbean and France, as this can serve to develop a new area of activity in the service sector and to promote Saint Lucia as a destination for educational tourism.

Saint Lucia will have to seek to expand relations with political directorates that now seem to have as priorities, issues such as poverty eradication, and the reduction in social and economic inequality, which are also major issues for the country.  

But in the changing regional environment, the need for strategic alliances with Latin America must remain a priority issue for Saint Lucia. 


It is proposed that a standing Council of Foreign Relations to be established under the Chairmanship of the Minister of the METC, and comprised of the Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Commerce, Finance, Planning, Tourism, Aviation and Agriculture or subcommittees thereof. The Council’s deliberations may be open to other Ministers of Government whose work falls within a relevant area being considered, (e.g. Home affairs for security matters, etc).

It is recommended that the Council should be primarily a policy formulation body, and a communication conduit to relevant sectors.  The Council should monitor global developments, track new trade agreements identify critical economic and political issues impacting on Saint Lucia, and propose appropriate policy responses. Furhtermore, the Council should also communicate, through dialogue and outreach new policy developments to relevant sections of civil society and the governmental apparatus in order to ensure effective execution of agreed policies.

It is recommended that procedural arrangements that establish clear lines of communication for proper advice and communication to the Private Sector, trade unions and civil society bodies in respect of specific meetings at which their participation is required. Preparations for those meetings should involve prior discussion with private sector and civil society representatives.

It is recommended that the METC should establish a mechanism that facilitates the participation of relevant Private Sector and civil society representatives, as well as key technocrats from other line Ministries at relevant preparatory meetings prior to the departure of a Saint Lucia delegation.
It is proposed that the establishment of an operation framework to facilitate communications between the Overseas Missions and the local line ministries.

It is recommended that the reformulation of the Office of CARICOM/OECS Ambassador into a more clearly defined set of functions and with clear lines of communication between the CARICOM Ambassador, the Minister and the METC, as a whole.


It is recommended that the Ministry create a Mission Statement that clearly articulates its strategic intent and direction to guide both Headquarters and overseas Mission personnel. 
The Ministry should also prepare an annual strategic action programme and establish clear and unambiguous targets along with performance indicators to ensure a coherent policy direction.
It is recommended that the Ministry create a website to increase its visibility both nationally and internationally. 
With respect to the use of technology, the establishment of an intranet arrangement which would integrate the Ministry of External Affairs and the overseas missions in a secure and seamless communications network is recommended. 
With respect to training, it is recommended that the Ministry, in collaboration with the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies (UWI) should seek to provide an induction course for newly recruited Foreign Service Officers well as focused short courses on critical global issues in order to provide cutting edge perspectives to its staff members.

In our view the existing positions in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), normally referred to as CARICOM/OECS Ambassador be defined to ensure a functional relationship with the METC, such that there is a continuous flow of information between the two offices, taking into account the responsibility of the officer to the Prime Minister.

It recommended that a new position of Director of Missions (or equivalent nomenclature) be introduced into the METC, to provide for policy and operational coherence and to provide “hands on” support to the Ministry and overseas Missions. The position will necessarily one of seniority, the holder optimally being at Ambassadorial level.

It is recommended that a facility for the grooming of future diplomatic staff be devised within the system, to provide not only adequate succession planning, bearing in mind the parameters of the existing political system, but also for ensuring appropriate provisions and opportunities for mobility (domestic and external)within the Foreign Service.

1. The Saint Lucian government should take the lead, at home and at the sub-regional level, to ensure the implementation of the Free Circulation Regime agreed under the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.


1.  The GOSL in its foreign policy thrust must fashion mechanisms for transforming the OECS from a perceived detached organisation into a service organisation. 


1.  It is therefore recommended that Government pursue the issue of the appointment of a “network” of key personalities as Honorary Consuls representing Saint Lucia in specific diplomatic theatres. Their function would be the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI, tourism development and related services. They would be expected to ensure the funding of these Consulates. 


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