Prime Minister Gaston Browne has lashed out at the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, for comments he made about China’s relations with small island states.
Pompeo said he intended to tell the entire region that when China comes calling, it’s not always to the good of small island citizens
And Pompeo didn’t stop there. He said further that countries had to watch out for Chinese companies that show up with deals that seem too good to be true.
But Browne, who condemned the statements, said the U.S. should be ashamed for criticising a country that has assisted in the development of Caribbean countries for decades.
He said that the United States should learn from China and stop wasting resources on useless wars.
“Perhaps they may wish to consider spending less on artillery, useless wars and interventions into the affairs of other independent states; the savings from which could be utilised in part, to help under- privileged countries,” Browne told OBSERVER media.
According to him, right now, the world needs less conflict and more cooperation.
“End the useless, idiotic conflicts and ideological warfare; help under privileged peoples globally.
There is no superior alternative to assisting human advancement globally,” he added.
He said that those who are opposed to China’s deepening influence in the hemisphere need to talk less, get into action, and put some impactful diplomatic dollars or developmental assistance dollars and debt relief on the table.
Browne said that economically underprivileged island states in the Caribbean need impactful development assistance from the wealthy countries to continue to develop.
“There has been a void created by the benign neglect of the powerful states,” he said.
The People’s Republic of China, according to Browne – with significantly less resources than those wealthy states – has gone beyond the call of duty to assist Caribbean countries with meaningful grants and concessional loans, to develop their crumbling socio-economic infrastructure to include schools, roads, hospitals, airports, seaports and stadia.
“The developmental prospects of many underprivileged countries in the Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda, would have been significantly less without Chinese funding,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda is the recent beneficiary of a housing grant of EC$100M to build more climate resilient and affordable homes for the poor.
“Whereas, we owe China a debt of gratitude for its developmental assistance; I do not see how this act of generosity could be detrimental to the national interest,” the prime minister said.
He added that developing countries globally need help and they, from time to time, leverage their foreign policy to obtain much needed developmental assistance for their peoples.
“These under privileged countries do not have the luxury to align based on geography, ideology and the narrow nationalistic ideals of the mighty. They ally with those countries that treat them with respect and support their developmental agenda,” he said.