Barbadian Podcaster Gives Testimony to US Congressional Commission - Rasheed Griffith at the Hearing on China in Latin America and the Caribbean

Barbadian Rasheed Griffith, the presenter of the China in the Caribbean Podcast, was the sole Caribbean expert invited to appear before the US Congressional Commission on US-China Economic and Security Review at a public hearing held online on May 20. The topic of the hearing was "China in Latin America and the Caribbean", and other non-US presenters were from Chile, Mexico and Brazil. 

In his written testimony, available at this link, Griffith contends that "Little effort has been placed on honing a nuanced understanding of what the Caribbean has gained and hopes to gain from its engagement with China. The Caribbean is not an idle player. Regional governments actively seek deals from Chinese firms and government organizations - often with significant success. The fundamental question should not be why is China engaging in the Caribbean. Rather, it should be why do Caribbean countries so readily seek out deals with Chinese firms?"

Griffith suggests that "It is not too late for the U.S. to arrest the deepening of China-Caribbean engagement that could go contrary to U.S strategic interests. But it requires wrestling with the facts on the ground and countering with realistic and robust alternatives. By geographical, historical, and cultural fact the Caribbean is tethered to the U.S. - not China. However, the U.S. has to be a reliable partner in sustaining that link".

The presentation is a mine of information on Chinese investment in the Caribbean, covering the Baha Mar Resort in The Bahamas, the "largest project of its kind in the Caribbean"; the North-south Highway in Jamaica, and the Antigua and Barbuda Special Economic Zone. Also discussed are the role of international financial centres in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands in facilitating investment flows between China and the US, and the benefit from Chinese investors to Caribbean states that have offered Citizenship by Investment programmes. Griffith also recounts Taiwan's efforts to secure repayment of loans to Grenada after the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in 2005.

The recording of the hearing may be found at this link. Griffith's oral testimony begins at 5:41.09.