Leader of the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Philip J. Pierre has again taken issue with the overseas trips of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, claiming that those “frequent flier miles” have yet to bear fruit for Saint Lucia.
Addressing the SLP’s open session of the Conference of Delegates on Sunday, Pierre said after 40 months of “globetrotting” Chastanet “has not negotiated one new bilateral agreement or opened up a single new market for Saint Lucian goods”.
“Our foreign policy is premised on frequent flier miles to London and Zurich,” Pierre said.
An SLP government will ensure that every overseas trip will be designed to build partnerships and benefit Saint Lucians, Pierre said.
“We will seek to create new trade deals and funding support with foreign countries. We will appoint experienced trade ambassadors to existing and new trading partner nations,” he said.
The prime minister, who is chairman of CARICOM and also served as chairman of the OECS, has constantly come under criticism for his trips overseas. However, he and his ministers have always defended those travels.
Meanwhile, Pierre promised that an SLP government’s foreign policy will be more productive.
He said: “We will rebuild our international reputation by ensuring a foreign relations agenda that fits the reality of our time and based on the fundamental principles of mutual respect, strategic interest, non-interference in the internal affairs of countries and for the ultimate benefit for the people of Saint Lucia. We will work tirelessly to secure market access, technological exchange and support for human resource development. We recognize that whilst looking north to the developed countries of this hemisphere has resulted in tremendous support for Saint Lucia the time has come for us to expand south/south cooperation as a deliberate strategy to strengthening foreign and international relations. A Labour Party government will spare no effort to allocate resources, which would stimulate partnerships with net gains for our people.”