PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago (defend.ht) – Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries that support China’s “One China” policy will be able to benefit from $3 billion [US] in concessional loans. Haiti will not benefit because it maintains relations with Taiwan.
Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Suriname, Montserrat, Guyana, Barbados, The Bahamas, Grenada, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda are of the Caricom countries that support the One China policy.
Haiti joins Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis who will not benefit for recognizing the separate entity of Taiwan.
Trini Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar informed the press, of which Stabroek News reported, of this offer of concessional loans after a three-day visit by the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping.
“President Jinping announced at the luncheon he will be contributing US$3 billion in concessional financing for the Caricom region, so we indeed thank him for that very generous gesture. US$3 billion for infrastructure projects—US$1.5 billion, and another US$1.5 billion for other kinds of development projects in the region,” Persad-Bissessar said.
This announcement comes just days after United States Vice-President Joe Biden paid a two-day visit to Trinidad, during which he met with several Caricom Heads of Government, including Haitian President Michel Martelly, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas.
In response to a question from the media, Persad-Bissessar said the concessional financing would be limited to those Caricom States that support the One China policy.
“And that is as it should be. You would have seen that those countries that do not support the One China policy were not invited by His Excellency for the meetings, for the bi-laterals today, and I have no difficulty with that in principle because Trinidad and Tobago has always supported the One China policy, as several other countries,” Persad-Bissessar said.
Speaking through an interpreter, China’s Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Huang Xingyuan, said the concessional financing may be increased in the future.
“One thing I would like to emphasise here is that the people of China will never forget their old friends, especially those friends that supported us at the crucial moments of history,” he said.
Caricom Heads of Government who attended the luncheon that took place at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann’s, did so after Xi held bilateral meetings with each of them at the hotel.
They included Guyana’s President, Donald Ramotar; Suriname’s President, Desi Bouterse; Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller; Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell; Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit; and Prime Minister of The Bahamas Perry Christie.
Ramotar said he does see not the US$3 billion in concessional loans from People’s Republic of China to the Caricom States that support the One China policy as an attempt to gain influence internationally.
“I don’t think China has to gain influence. I think China is a powerful and influential country in the world and the question of what kind of influence to me, China has a very positive influence in the international arena and I welcome that,” Ramotar said.