Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell said yesterday that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis was “correct” in defending The Bahamas’ relationship with China during a recent meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Under the Obama administration, with regard to China, they said to us that the United States had no development capital to give and China was in the position of giving development capital,” said Mitchell, who is a former minister of foreign affairs.
“And so, ‘If China had cash to give you, go get it,’ said [former U.S. Vice President Joe] Biden. ‘God bless you.’ And that was their position then.
“This [Trump] administration now says China is engaged in predatory practices and they seem to believe that there are some hegemonic designs on the Caribbean.
“There’s no evidence as far as we can see of that, nor is there any security threat. So, if The Bahamas government, at that meeting, stood up for that then I think [it] is correct in doing so.”
On Saturday, while confirming that the issue came up during the meeting, Minnis told reporters, “I pointed out very clearly that China and The Bahamas are allies with a good working relationship, and that will not change.”
Minnis and the leaders of Jamaica, Haiti, Saint Lucia and the Dominican Republic had a multilateral meeting with Trump on Friday in Florida.
Days before the meeting, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a statement saying that Trump looked forward to working with The Bahamas and other Caribbean countries to “counter China’s predatory economic practices”.
Last Wednesday, Haigang Yin, the charge d’affaires of the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, accused the United States of attempting to “disintegrate solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries”.
Yin said he had “faith” that The Bahamas would not be “misled by others” who would’ve “fabricated lies and irresponsible accusations” about China.
U.S. Embassy in Nassau Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers fired backed the next day, encouraging leaders to be wary of whom they get into business with.
“We encourage all leaders to choose high-quality, transparent and inclusive foreign investment, and we want to ensure development financing does not result in unsustainable debt,” Bowers said.