Pompeo: Be wary of Chinese investment

The United States on Wednesday urged Caribbean countries to be wary of accepting “easy money from countries like China” as Washington sought to improve its decades old relationship with the region.

US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo addressing a policy discussion on “US-Caribbean relations, acknowledged that the North American giant had been absent from the Caribbean for long period.

“I think for too long the United States focused on the Caribbean only when natural disaster hit. Too many US officials came here to talk about aid and aid alone, I am not going to give that speech today,” Pompeo told the forum that included the foreign ministers of Haiti, St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis, Belize and the host country.

“I believe that the United States and the Caribbean can do much more together and importantly should do much more together…we are natural allies and natural partners. Now is the time to move forward with even closer ties with so much opportunity,” he said.

In recent times, Washington has become critical of China’s investments in the Caribbean with many regional states signing on to Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative, the global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 involving infrastructure development and used by the Asian country to strengthen its connectivity with the world.

But Pompeo told the Caribbean foreign ministers and other officials present “it is tempting to accept easy money from places like China, but what good is it if it feeds corruption and undermines your rule of law”?

He said most of the investments ruin the environment, don’t create jobs for locals, and that there is a better alternative.