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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, centre left, and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe and their delegations during talks in Japan. (Getty images)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, centre left, and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe and their delegations during talks in Japan. (Getty images)
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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (CMC) – St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves Monday called on Japan to establish a strategic relationship with the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping.

“I want to see Japan not just as having an ordinary relationship with CARICOM. I want them to see it is in their strategic interest to be very much involved in the CARICOM countries,” Gonsalves told a news conference following his visit to the Asian country earlier this month.

Gonsalves told reporters that during his bilateral discussions with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, “we identified a number of areas within the strategic fray which dovetail with Japan”.

He said these include the question of climate change, “which is part and parcel of sustainable development, people to people exchanges, and in that regard Prime Minister Abe agreed with the proposal that I put to him”.

Gonsalves said that within the strategic proposal, there was a necessity for a ‘special carve out for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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“So we are putting our case within a regional context but yet having a bilateral emphasis. After all I am the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said, adding that “during his presentation he had been careful “not to overload it”.

Gonsalves said he believes the “strategic proposal” put forward to his Japanese counterpart had been well received adding “I think that we are on a footing with Japan which is a much stronger one than when we went and I think we are going to see in the changing world Japan playing an important and an even more important role than they are playing in the Caribbean.

“This is an area where historically, the British, the Canadians, Europeans, the North Americans have been very engaged and they still are. But you know Europe has its own set of challenges with Brexit and other related matters.

“Canada has its own set of concerns. We see the foreign policy emphasis by the United States of America. So in that context you have to put on the table, a country of the size, the economic importance of Japan for an even more profound involvement in our area,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister said that following his talks in Tokyo, a mission will visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines “pretty shortly” for discussions with local government technocrats in relation to the various projects discussed with Japanese officials.

9 replies on “St. Vincent PM wants Japan to have strategic dev’t plans for Caribbean”

  1. All Japan would ever want from CARICOM (and the wider Caribbean) can be summarized in two words, “marine resources”: (1) support for a liberal approach to whaling that would abrogate existing international agreements and (2) permission for unlimited fishing in our coastal waters.

    Many, if not most, CARICOM countries would exchange both for badly needed financial assistance in a whole variety of areas regardless of the long term effects on the sustainability of the local fishery or the survival of various species of whales.

    1. I agree. I know that the Fukushima nuclear disaster has caused alot of damage to the Japanese ability to satisfy thier insatiable appetite for fish in the entire north Pacific ocean. Along with the USA dumping all those chemicals in the Gulf of Mexico, that the currents took up along the coast and into the North Atlantic, has caused Caribbean fishing resources to become more attractive to our Asian friends. What the result of this meeting is, we may never know. At least if it is a bad deal for Vincentians, it will not be made public. We can all wonder if some Political Party ,person(s) or entity will get a major boost to thier financial assets in the next year or so from the Japanese Government. We may never know! Keep your eyes open for Japanese fishing boats in our waters.

  2. I wonder if our Prime Minister is smiling from ear to ear in the photo because his Japanese equivalent has just promised him a nice time with a hot geisha girl (stock-photo-young-beautiful-asian-woman-s-portrait-geisha-in-kimono-on-black-198225947.jpg).

  3. Ricardo Francis says:

    Where there is no vision, the people shall perish. Shortsightedness, laziness and greed on the part of some politicians shall be short-term gain for long-term pain. Our waters are filled with natural resources but we trade them for a few shillings.

    St. Vincent and the Grenadines interest before CARICOM interest. We are looking after our neighbours interest and shortchanging our people to satisfy the agenda of the Vincentian and Caribbean Elites.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making.

  4. I wonder, what those strategic proposals are? Mr. Gonsalves appears to be saying, since the USA, Canada, the UK and the EU (Our traditional allies) seem preoccupied, he decided to look elsewhere for support. Mr. Gonsalves seem to be a good politician but, our country seems to be far behind everything. That means he is not a good PM. Did he ask the Japanese to invest in SVG? He didn’t go to the meeting with a trade delegation. (or any other professionals, not even a news reporter) We can all speculate as to the real purpose and significance of this summit.

    1. My point exactly. How come we didn’t have a trade delegation at this event. Doesn’t look good for this country.

    2. The Japanese gave us our beautiful fish market and millions of dollars of other financial and in-kind aid over the years, all in exchange for rights to fish in our waters and support for its whaling.

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