UWP believes relations with China can do more for the people of Dominica
August 22, 2017 3:15 P.M
Roseau, Dominica (TDN)
The United Workers Party (UWP), the Parliamentary Opposition of the Commonwealth of Dominica, has concluded a ten day visit to China optimistic that more can be achieved under the bi-lateral relations between both countries to realize the dream of more successful, dignified lives for all Dominicans.
The UWP delegation, headed by Political Leader Hon Lennox Linton, visited the world’s second largest economy on the invitation of the ruling Communist Party of China pursuant to a mutual interest in broadening the scope and improving the quality of bilateral relations. The seven member UWP team also comprised Hon. Hector John, Hon. Ezekiel Bazil, Hon. Danny Lugay, Hon. Joshua Francis, Hon. Felix Thomas and former UN Ambassador, Crispin Gregoire.
This new party to party collaboration is a result of a shared belief that ideological, governance, and cultural differences should not be barriers to cooperation between political parties committed to world peace and the advancement of global civilization. Based on a principled foreign policy position adopted years ago, the UWP recognized the One China Policy and anticipates the day when the territorial integrity of China will be amicably resolved.
We welcome the interest of China’s ruling Party in working with Dominica’s Parliamentary Opposition to build capacity for people centered, rule of law governance and to ensure that, as is the case in China, the operations of government will be for the benefit of all the people of Dominica.
Having modernized its economy, revolutionized social services and reduced poverty levels to less than 4% of its 1.4 billion people, the world’s largest nation is moving purposefully toward the goal of national rejuvenation with powerful examples of the importance of discipline, organization, and service to humanity in governance and nation building.
China’s compelling story of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, features strong market driven economic growth as the basis of significant income earning opportunities for the 12 trillion US dollar economy and its people from all walks of life. There is a lot for Dominica to learn from China’s example of systematically growing national income and distributing it in a just and equitable manner for widespread public benefit.
For more than thirteen years, state to state cooperation between the Governments of China and Dominica has been used by the Government of Dominica mainly to secure soft loans and grant financing for public infrastructure. <.p> But in China’s area of strength – identifying and meeting global needs for goods and services - there has been very little, if any, focus on transfer of technology to build the capacity of Dominica’s economic growth engines, create jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities especially for the youth; and earn more national income.
In the area of agriculture we saw cutting edge farm management and production techniques capable of revolutionizing Dominica’s agriculture/agro-processing industry into an exemplary farm to market success story for high world market demand products like coconut, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, coffee, lemon grass and other wellness herbs.
130 million Chinese from a rapidly expanding middle class travel out of China every year for vacation. A small percentage of these tourists could dramatically transform our tourism performance. Our observations of this emerging market encourage us in the belief we can find the know-how to direct some of these Chinese tourist dollars to our nature island product.
On the vital question of an international airport for Dominica, we concluded that the design, technology and financing solutions for the construction of a modern, eco-friendly, state-of-the-art facility, are available from China and will be pursued as soon as a UWP government takes office.
We did a very careful study of China’s poverty alleviation program under which 27 million of the 70 million Chinese who were living in poverty at the end of 2015 are no longer poor and the plan is to eradicate the scourge completely over the next four years. We are satisfied that there is a lot Dominica can learn from China’s policy of fighting poverty by securing sustainable economic means for the poor to earn their own income and thereby protect themselves from the cycle of impoverishment.
It was confirmed that even with the growing number of Dominican youth studying in China and the huge potential for more productive socio-economic engagements, Dominica still has no resident ambassador to China more than nine years after Ambassador David Hsiu demitted office. This unfortunate state of affairs is made even more troubling by the fact that just a few years ago, in 2015, the ruling Dominica Labour Party was working overtime to establish diplomatic relations with Malaysia so that accused Iranian criminal Alireza Monfared could be made our Resident Ambassador there.
We urge the Government to immediately appoint a suitably qualified and competent Dominican national (who did not purchase his/her citizenship) to serve as Dominica’s Resident Ambassador to China and thereby restore the integrity of Government’s faith in the importance of diplomatic relations with Beijing.
We also call on the ruling Dominica Labour Party to issue an unequivocal statement in support of China’s comprehensive anti-corruption campaign as an example of the seriousness with which governments around the world must act to prevent state resources from been plundered for private gain.
The UWP Team engaged with ruling party and Government officials in China on a number of other matters of mutual development interest, including:
• China-Caribbean relations;
The UWP team and Chinese Communist Party Official.
• innovation driven development;
• education and training;
• sports and youth development;
• elderly care;
• renewable energy utilization; and
• ICT and light manufacturing opportunities
For the avoidance of doubt, we were not invited to China to send any signal to any Leader or Political Party, nor was this an initiative to involve the Parliamentary Opposition in state to state matters normally handled by the sitting Government. The objective was to explore opportunities for strengthening party capacity and capability for 1) better oversight of Government and better representation of people while in opposition; and 2) visionary, caring, competent, corruption free leadership when the United Workers Party becomes the government.
We therefore look forward to working with the ruling Communist Party of China especially in building governance capacity to serve the people who are masters of their own fate and who, in the quest to become the best that they can be, assign their power to politicians and political parties to govern lives for the common good.
In the context of our Agenda of Opportunity for all – for unemployed youth yearning to earn their own money; for small business striving for profitable growth; for low income citizens anxious about avoiding the welfare road; for farmers, fishermen, builders, carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians and other professionals; for our public servants and private sector employees; for our seniors who simply want to live out their years in dignity – this visit to China has served us well.
It was educational. It was enlightening. It was enjoyable.
We thank China’s Ambassador to Dominica Lu Kun and his staff for the excellent arrangements that facilitated this visit and our hosts in Beijing and Hubei Province for their truly amazing hospitality.