St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Foreign policy



Foreign relations dominate Ralph Gonsalves' political philosophy. He believes that the individual island nations of the Caribbean are too small by themselves to function successfully; he advocates the formation of multination political union in order to wield more power in the world. He has been a vocal critic of many aspects of the established multinational organizations and has advocated the creation of deeper union within them, or, if that is not possible, the creation of new political union. Of deep concern to Gonsalves is the ability of Caribbeans to freely move among the island nations for work or for any other reason. Many nations of the Caribbean open their borders freely to tourists from the United States, Canada, and the European Union, but place restrictions on nationals for entry into other Caribbean states. To help remedy this, Gonsalves has worked extensively within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). In 2002, at an OECS meeting in Anguilla, Gonsalves signed an agreement creating economic union among seven of the nine members of the organization. The union was to be implemented over two years and would allow for the free movement of people, goods, and services.

In relations with the United States, Gonsalves has continued St. Vincent's generally positive ties. The U.S. government has emphasized its concern about marijuana cultivation in St. Vincent and strongly supports the St. Vincent government's efforts to eradicate it. In addition, the United States wants to be able to interdict drug shipments. St. Vincent signed agreements in the 1990s granting the United States much of what it wanted in this area. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the OECS, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom), the OAS, as well as the Association of Caribbean States.

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