A Throne Speech whitewashed in its conclusion

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H. E. Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac, Governor General of Saint Lucia

By Caribbean News Global Caribbean News Global fav A Throne Speech whitewashed in its conclusion

WASHINGTON, USA – Governor-General of Saint Lucia, Sir Emmanuel Cenac, Throne Speech entitled: Adapting, overcoming and preserving: We are a resilient nation, delivered on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, ensured three constants:

  1. As expect and reported by Caribbean News Global (CNG) “based on precedence the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is not expected to be in attendance.” This came true. The SLP stood its grounds, in much devotion to the construct of objectivity and staying true to is precepts.
  2. The pre-recorded production was a poor use of state resources, lacklustre and ancient; and,
  3. The conclusion of the Throne Speech gave “the unassailable, unvarnished truth is that we are battle-scarred; our lives and our country’s economy have been battered by COVID-19. Our small nation has suffered immense loss.”

Foreign Policy and Nation Security

In an examination of “adapting, overcoming and preserving” (foreign policy) regional and foreign relations and (national security) citizen security are ill-equipped as written and visioned for a strong, secure, and prosperous future.

The policy inscribed is nothing new and novel of a strategy to drive investment in the domestic economy and capable to drive foreign investment in the blue economy [ The blue economy will be targeted as a key strategic area for fostering economic recovery after COVID19, and will prioritize the reduction of marine pollution, the development of fisheries and aquaculture and sustainable tourism.] inclusive of the development of industry, technology and alternative energy.

The sum of Saint Lucia’s regional and foreign relations and citizen security is the foundation of the country. Values, construct, the people, culture, economic and social policy is your foreign policy. Based on an analysis of the Throne Speech it is abstract to being people-centric and distant to deliver for and on behalf of the people.

The strategy relates to ambitions. It is a mismatched approach, eg, Cannabis, which requires an integrated approach to drive investment into the various communities. And STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) and agri-business to facilitate a competitive environment and to maximize global opportunities.

Governor-General pushing Cannabis legislation in St Lucia

A review identifies the challenges Small Island Developing States confront with the COVID-19 pandemic sourcing vaccines, while caught-up in vaccine diplomacy and the benevolence of others.

And as suggested in the Throne Speech: “In other aspects of our diplomatic relations, Saint Lucia has continued to advocate for the removal of the US embargo against Cuba and denounced the recent designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. Saint Lucia has also advocated for the recognition of Taiwan in critical international fora, particularly the World Health Assembly and the International Civil Aviation Organization,” and for what this means, “as we go forward, my government will also pursue its policy of developing new relations through a broadened diplomatic outreach that will embrace non-traditional partners.”

Further, in reference to “my government articulated an agenda that was grounded in the conviction that the pandemic presented a springboard for resilience,” and “to seize opportunity out of adversity and re-create normalcy from the chaos created in the wake of COVID-19,” the agenda for 2021 reads:

“My government will seek to consolidate achievements made thus far and add impetus and urgency to critical initiatives designed to further develop our human capital, while continuing to promote economic and physical investment. … but as we stand today at a crossroad, my government is committed to apply lessons learnt, take advantage of new opportunities and propel our country towards global excellence.”

Let’s examine citizen security as defined in the Throne Speech:

“My government’s capacity and resources for the provision of national security systems have been severely stretched by the exigencies of the COVID-19 response.

Our criminal justice authorities were not, however, daunted and they must be applauded for making national history by introducing mainstreamed virtual court proceedings, to allow for both civil and criminal hearings to be conducted; and establishing a parole system, as well as holding the first probation and parole hearing.

In support of ongoing efforts towards criminal justice reform, my government will introduce legislation to govern the implementation of Bench Trials. This initiative is intended to significantly improve the efficiency in the Criminal Justice System. 

In respect of crime detection, a decrease of 27 percent in crime figures over the 2019 base figure was recorded.  My government will take steps towards further reduction as we seek to achieve the target of 45 percent reduction by the year 2022.

As work continues on the proposed new Border Control Agency, my government will enact the Border Control Bill to govern the operation of the Agency, develop relevant policies and procedures and complete the procurement of the Border Management System as part of the overall strategy for strengthening national security. 

“As regards our police, my government remains committed to providing a safe work environment that is conducive to the execution of their duties. In this respect, the construction of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Headquarters and the routine maintenance and rehabilitation of police facilities have been identified as priorities for the coming year.”

In review, combining resources and pooling expertise is admirable to respond to challenges. However, that equation is incomplete on how to protect the national interest and exercise influence in international circles, with a weak administration and poor reputation overall, in a competitive world.

The inference that the Throne Speech whitewashed in its conclusion, the three constants affirms: “But we are not defeated. We will not lie like dried bones on the floor of the valley. We will not be defined by the ravages of the past, but by the boundless untapped potential and possibilities of the future. No matter the turns of fate, Saint Lucia will forge ahead.  […].”

Conversely, there is an invisible approach in language and no definitive strategic guidance to “forge ahead” – prioritizing a domestic foundation for prosperity, alongside integrated links to global challenges.

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