Trinidad and Tobago have suddenly changed sides, first, they were going against the debt traps and now they are getting into sister city agreements because of the relations with Washington going downhill.
In annoyance with Washington, T&T has focused on building ties with the dragon. This news is surprising after this island country initially was against the debt traps of China but now it has gone back on its word, thanks to Washington’s sanctions obsession.
This petty-minded US mentality of sanctioning anyone has led to many countries flocking somewhere else and in the case of T&T, recently, where it was collaborating on fuel with Venezuela, which was an irritant in US’s eyes, created a somewhat upsetting image upon Washington.
So, this has made it imperative for Port of Spain to look towards Beijing in multidimensional realms such as education, finance, and public health, which is a persisting problem in the island country.
Why Sudden Change of Heart?
The Caribbean is looking for reasonable and cost-friendly alternatives in the current scenario where oil prices are soaring and everyone doesn’t want to look and smell West. Similarly, understanding, restoring routes, and initiating trade on a win-to-win basis, have been the aim of sister city agreements, where one such has been signed between Port of Spain and Shanghai on Tuesday between the two Mayors, Joel Martinez and Gong Zheng.
This recent development of the Letter of Intent signing between China and T&T might be a shortcut to getting away from being tied to only one superpower.
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Even, Trinidad as per a Newsday statement could be working on a Comprehensive Partnership with China too. This may seem frustrating for Biden because of the gaps he left in nurturing ties with island countries.
During this event, the two sides started to find common grounds through shared historical connectivity and the two parties affirmed to go and bite the bullet to further ties. China has projects in this port city under the Shanghai Construction Company as well as the National Academy for Performing Arts and Diplomatic Centre. So, this shows that there is a slow coming in of the dragon into Port of Spain’s periphery.
In a recent interview at Newsday, Chinese Ambassador, Fan Qiu discussed China-T&T having a total trade of USD$ 1 billion and the exports to China from Port of Spain amounted to USD$ 647 million.
He also made mentioned setting up Phoenix Park Industrial Estates to foster economic development under the much talked BRI-initiative.
If Biden moves on leaving all the load on the head of Port and Spain, definitely, the latter will obviously look up to someone else.
The global disillusionment about US foreign policy implementation and the steps taken by Pentagon doesn’t seem fruitful, it will only put Washington in the ocean which leads to nowhere and its ship will sink only further.
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