0

China's Aid Unwanted? Nonsense

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Minnis administration has not discouraged China from helping this country recover from Hurricane Dorian, Haigang Yin, charge d’affairs of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, said yesterday.

His comment followed a US media report that The Bahamas does not want China’s help reconstructing Abaco and Grand Bahama.

The Palm Beach Post reported on Friday that Linda Mackey, consul general to Florida, said that when President Donald Trump hosted a summit last March at the Mar-a-Lago resort, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pledged to keep China’s influence out of the Bahamas and that this pledge still stands after Hurricane Dorian.

The report alarmed Bahamian government officials over the weekend, eventually prompting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a statement on Sunday saying Ms Mackey’s comments were taken out of context.

The Tribune obtained a transcript from the Palm Beach Post of its interview with Ms Mackey.

A reporter asked her: “Is there any concern about who does the reconstruction? I remember that President Trump met with the prime minister in the spring and there were some concerns about Chinese influence in the Bahamas.”

According to the transcript, she responded: “Well, in Abaco, locals are doing the actual work, the construction work. The NGO is only supplying the building supplies. So, we are empowering the locals to do the actual work. So, there will be no Chinese with what I’m referring to.”

She was later asked: “But what the prime minister talked about with Trump for keeping Chinese influence out, that still stands?”

She responded: “Yes, yes, yes. I know in Abaco, Baker’s Bay, they’ve gotten some permission to bring in Mexico to help with the rebuild.”

Nonetheless, Mr Yin said any suggestion The Bahamas has declined Chinese assistance is “fake news”. He said it would be irresponsible for any diplomat to make such an ungrounded claim.

Before last year’s meeting with President Trump, the White House said participants would discuss how to counter China’s “predatory economic practices” in this region. Bahamian government officials, however, have never affirmed an intention to decline China’s assistance and or halt its influence. Following his meeting with President Trump, Dr Minnis told reporters he informed American officials that China and the Bahamas are allies that enjoy a good working relationship and that this will not change.

The Chinese government has donated more than $500,000 after Hurricane Dorian. Its donations do not represent a decline compared to China’s assistance after past hurricanes. After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, China donated $50,000 while China Construction America, a subsidiary of the state-owned Chinese State Construction Engineering Corporation and developer of The Pointe, donated $100,000.

Mr Yin said National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officials are planning to take the Chinese ambassador on a tour of Abaco. He noted that the government recently signed an agreement for China to import Bahamian lobster and for air transportation cooperation between the two countries.

“I see the bilateral relations are on the rise, not the contrary,” he said. “We have never heard anything from the foreign minister, from the prime minister, from other ministers that the Bahamian government don’t want China’s help.”

After Hurricane Dorian, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said China would step “in and seize the moment to exploit the recovery for its own nefarious purposes” if the US didn’t help.

In 2016, then US President Barack Obama suggested to students at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica that they should be no more concerned about China’s influence than they are for any other country.

“If China is making investments that are building up infrastructure or improving education or helping the people, then we welcome that, we think that’s great,” Mr Obama said. “The only thing is you have to look at what strings are attached. If the investments are made and it’s solely to build a road to a mine to extract raw materials that are going to then immediately go to a port and shipped to China and if Chinese workers are shipped in to build the road and if you don’t know exactly what the deal is with the government that led to China getting the contract, in those circumstances, it might not in fact be serving the long-term interest of your country. And by the way I would say the same thing about the United States. If we come in with an aid package to your country and we say we are gonna give you $100 million for such and such and when you evaluate the benefits, it’s US companies that are disproportionally benefiting from it and it’s creating a situation where the United States is making a lot of profits but it is not leaving behind a sustainable industrial base or ways in which that country could develop, then you have to evaluate that and try to get a better deal.”

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell has said the Obama administration encouraged the Bahamas’ relationship with China, seeing the country as a reliable source of capital.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Mitchell said: “The PLP accepts the clarification of the report in the Palm Beach press issued yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on our relations with China, the United States and hurricane relief. The original report that our country would exclude any assistance from China seemed out of line with the facts on the ground. It is incumbent that notwithstanding the facts of geography, culture and trade, there is sufficient room for the Bahamas to be friends with all nations that wish to be friends with us. We are now assured that all of our representatives overseas understand that policy.”

Comments

truetruebahamian 4 months ago

The government has befome bereft of its senses - allowing the export of Bahamian Spiny Lobster (Crawfish) to the Chinese is the epitome of insanity!

0

joeblow 4 months ago

It is foolish to compromise national security in the reconstruction phase post Dorian. The Chinese will want (or find a way to gain) access to telecommunication lines among other things and Trump will not allow a Huawei 5g network to be setup so close to the US. Accept their money, high quality steel, copper wires or concrete and allow the Americans to assist us in the on the ground reconstruction. That's the only way!

0

mandela 4 months ago

So now the Mexicans are coming in to take away jobs.

0

BahamaPundit 4 months ago

You can already see the evil political minds ticking how to sell The Bahamas sovereignty and economic future out to the Chinese and exit office with pockets and Swiss bank accounts full. So predictable and inevitable that our people choose the easy way out that leaves the country a debt trapped slave to a totalitarian regime. This article is just greasing the pan to start cooking the books. And who the heck would export our dwindling supply of spiny lobster to China!!!! Same people that would sell Bahamian sovereignty to China probably.

0

TalRussell 4 months ago

Of course there be the complainers.
The comrade Chinese are fast becoming a major world relief aid player, so why shouldn't our colony of out islands not be welcoming of aid from the Chinese - more so since the Chinese already have strong financial presence within the colony, yes, no ...

0

BahamaPundit 4 months ago

Chinese Loans (Check List)

Does the Project.. Uphold national sovereignty? Maintain transparency? Ensure financial sustainability? Keep locals engaged? Remain geopolitically prudent? Protect the environment? Inhibit corruption?

0

joeblow 4 months ago

... you just answered your own question!

0

Sickened 4 months ago

Jesus Tal stop embarrassing yourself!

0

TalRussell 4 months ago

Ma comrades, there are good reasons to be Chinese government influence watchful but to deny post Hurricane Dorian relief aid, shouldn't be your poisoned arrow, yes, no ...

0

TheMadHatter 4 months ago

Tal - this is by far the stupidest thing you have ever said. And that's quite an achievement.

0

TalRussell 4 months ago

Ma comrade, I goin grab me pen and paper to write down such achievement to be remembered ......

0

Economist 4 months ago

China never gives anything. Everything they do comes with a price.

1

geostorm 4 months ago

@Economist, you are so correct! I have said this before, NO, NO, NO to Chinese money. It's not worth it.

1

proudloudandfnm 4 months ago

And the Americans don't?

pulease…...

0

BahamaPundit 4 months ago

To my knowledge the US does not currently have concentration camps filled with hundreds of thousands, use eugenics and social credit systems, prohibit free speech, bribe public officials and intentionally corrupt the democratic process.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

We need to shut out the brutal Xi-led communist regime behind Red China while we still can. All loans, foreign aid, and other assistance of any kind from Red China come with very serious and onerous strings attached that favour the Red Chinese and ultimately harm the Bahamian people. The U.S. and Red China are vastly different countries when it comes to politically ideology, culture and respect for human rights.

Given the opportunity, corrupt senior politicians within the Minnis-led FNM government and their politically connected cronies in the private sector would happily unjustly enrich themselves by 'selling' all of the best that the Bahamas has to offer to the Red Chinese with no regard for the interests of the vast majority of the Bahamian people. We must therefore keep a very careful eye on Minnis.

1

proudloudandfnm 4 months ago

Chinese influence or American influence....

What's the difference? Six of one, half dozen of the next....

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

Big difference my friend......you obviously have not spent much time, if any, in Red China.

0

TalRussell 4 months ago

So easy spot the names the comrade bloggers to these hereto Tribune blog pages who might have good reason protests the colony being the recipient relief aid from the Chinese government starting with their own personal reason fear extradition to mainland China, yes, no .... There is just no making this fear indoctrination extradition, up ....

0

The_Oracle 4 months ago

Realize that had China promised 30, 300, 3000 or 3 million 40 ft containers of relief aid, It would only just be arriving......... 6 weeks +lead time. Fake Ramen noodles anyone? Realize that the aid that has been arriving since the second day after the storm across a still churned up Gulf Stream all came by private boats and yachts. (and aircraft) US private boats Yachts, aircraft. The relief workers and NGO's all arrived from the U.S. And continue to do so. AST no cost to the Bahamas Government or its people. Just to set the record straight.

0

TheMadHatter 4 months ago

Hopefully the Bahamas Govt will allow China to take us over and we become Communist - then the sensible amoung us can claim asylum in the USA and move there so we can live in civilization. Hurry up Minnis. Take ALL the China money. Go for it.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months ago

U.S. would end up treating us like they do the Cubans in Cuba.

0

TheMadHatter 4 months ago

No Mudda. Not if we become a state. We would have our own Governor and our own state legislature (house & senate) just like every state does. We would have to obey Federal Law just like every citizen. But we would have rights and opportunities just like every citizen. Cuba is not a part of the USA so the US can treat them any kinda way and they can do us the same. Imagine if Trump placed a 20% export tax on goods heading to the Bahamas? Including stuff in your luggage? Puerto Rico is being treated like a dog because they dont want to become a part of America. They had two referendums in the last 50 years and both times voted no. So let them deal with their own hip. Now is a good time for us to join the USA. Maybe next hurricane they will tell us to deal with our own hip too. Then we can all sing the National Anthem while we starve to death.

0

Sign in to comment