TAIPEI, Taiwan: – St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) ambassador to the United Nations says that in addition to the global economic crisis, the country faces “the triple threat of being globalized, climatized and stigmatized”.
Camillo M. Gonsalves told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that the World Trade Organization had globalised the multi-island Caribbean nation out of its trade in bananas, which, until very recently was the engine of its economic growth.
The tourism industry was threatened by climate change as intensified hurricanes destroy the coral reefs, damage costal infrastructure and erode beaches, Gonsalves said.
Additionally, he said, the country faces being stigmatized out of its transition into financial services.
He said that the G20, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and other “non-inclusive bodies” , sought to “scapegoat and root out so-called ‘tax havens’ in a pathetic effort to cast a wide and indiscriminate net of blame across a swath of legitimate and well-regulated countries’ development efforts”.
These “paternalistic prescriptions” come from countries that are unable to stem corruption and mismanagement within their own borders, he said.
According to Gonsalves, in these nations, “corporations recklessly squander trillions of dollars and a single buccaneer investor can make $50 billion disappear into thin air – an amount greater than the combined annual budget expenditures of the entire CARICOM sub-region”.
He said that in addition to the “unholy trinity of exogenous assaults” on its developmental prospects, SVG could not ignore the security threats engendered by the illicit trade in firearms and narcotics.
“We in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines find ourselves unfortunately located between the supply and demand of these poisons and weapons, and their deleterious effects rip holes in our cohesive social fabric,” he said.
He said “the Caribbean, which produces not one single firearm [nor] one single kilo of cocaine, is awash in drugs and guns, and is now the sub-region with the world’s highest per capita murder rate”.
He said that the plight of the Caribbean region could not be ignored adding, “the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, which inexplicably ended its presence in our region, has now seen fit to reconsider its decision to cede the Caribbean to drug cartels and murderers”.