Differing views have been expressed by respected researchers in the United States capital as to whether there would be any strategic importance to Trinidad and Tobago if either the incumbent, President Barack Obama, or challenger Mitt Romney, wins the upcoming US presidential election.
"I think that the Caribbean, unfortunately, is just not very high on anybody's list right now. We talk about what's happening, oh, well Haiti or they may talk about Cuba but very little talking about Trinidad and Tobago," says Dr Lee Edwards, a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
He made the comment in an interview aired on TV6 News last Friday.
TV6 News sought the views of Edwards, and Mark Jurkowitz, the associate director for the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Centre, after they delivered presentations during an orientation exercise for an embed programme for foreign journalists now in the US covering the final stretch of the election race.
The journalists are being hosted by the International Centre for Journalists.
Asked what major difference a win for Obama or Romney would make for people living in Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of the world, Jurkowitz, who specialises in US media issues said, "Fundamentally, this is an economic election and it's about the US domestic economy. And it's fundamentally an argument about the role of government."
The United States and Trinidad and Tobago have always maintained a good diplomatic and trade relationship, no matter the results of the US presidential elections or Trinidad and Tobago's general elections, even if issues have arisen from time to time.
As has been the case in the past, however, issues regarding the US relationship with Trinidad and Tobago or the Caribbean in general have not been a feature of any campaign speeches or the three debates between Obama and Romney.
Many in the region would not be surprised by this but Edwards said Caribbean issues can be discussed in the US "if you put it in a broader context of what about US relations with Latin America and include the Caribbean".
"Then I think there is a possibility that in that discussion, you can take a look and say, well what about an island nation like Trinidad and Tobago. But I think to be realistic, at this point, is not going to be paid much attention to it even in a new administration," Edwards said.
Foreign policy has become a main feature of the US presidential election campaign since September 11, when terrorists attacked the US Embassy in Libya.
Four Americans, including US ambassador Chris Stephens, died during the attack.
Jurkowitz said while Obama and Romney both seemed to have completely different views on foreign policy in the early days of the presidential election race, "I will be candid, I have explored almost all of the coverage of this campaign. I'm not sure there has been a discussion of anything, you know, south of Central America. I have not seen either campaign lay out a policy for South or Central America," Jurkowitz said.
CCN Senior Multimedia Journalist Juhel Browne is in the United States participating in the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) and the US Foreign Press Centre's 2012 Visiting Journalists Programme