In this demonstration staged by Oxfam on Friday, Nov. 23, 2013, in Poland, caricatures of world leaders consult a climate roadmap, even as the choices are explicitly clear. Prime Minister of SVG, Ralph Gonsalves, says climate change will be a priority during his chairmanship of the Caribbean Community. (IWN photo)

Climate change will be among the priorities of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves during his six-month chairmanship of CARICOM, which began on Jan. 1.

Speaking in the wake of the devastating floods and landslides in St. Vincent, Dominica and St. Lucia, Gonsalves said climate change is a big, existential issue.

The floods claimed almost 20 lives and left extensive damage in the three Windward Islands.

“We are having systems affecting us outside of the normal rainy season and the normal hurricane season,” he said, noting the April 2011 floods, and the Christmas Eve trough system in St. Vincent.

“And there are lots of monies which countries talk about for adaptation and mitigation to climate change, but I haven’t seen the money yet,” Gonsalves said.

(Read our extended coverage of the 2013 UN Climate Change Conference)

“And we have to use our diplomacy as a region, and we have to be aggressive with our climate change centre in Belize.

“And in my term as chairman of CARICOM, this is one of the issues … that I want dealt with … in a continually structured way and to lift it, has to do with the deleterious effects of climate change and to get the requisite responses from the international community in relation to this matter,” Gonsalves said.

“Because we don’t contribute anything to these manmade weather systems, these problems with putting so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are the minimist in that regard, but we are on the frontline. That is an issue which is big, but that’s for another discussion,” Gonsalves said.

(Read also: On impact of climate change, rich countries not tickled by moralistic argument)

3 replies on “Gonsalves to focus on climate change during CARICOM chairmanship”

  1. I will say it again for the hundreth time. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and in particular the government policies and actions are major contributors to global warming, pollution of the seas, rivers and atmosphere

    This Marxist led government are fully aware that they are poisoning the world on a pro-rata basis that exceeds most developed countries. The government are directly responsible for the following.

    Burning of huge quantities of vehicle tyres [tires] in the Rabacca river.
    Land filling without dealing with methane gas production, other than venting into the atmosphere.
    Poisoning the groundwater and sea by allowing garages and car repair firms to drain dirty engine oil directly into the drainage system.
    Allowing charcoal burning on a large scale.
    Allowing bush burning on a large scale.
    Allowing deforestation on a large scale.
    Allowing the use of exceptionally nasty chemicals to control insects and bugs.
    Pumping raw sewage into the sea on a large scale.
    Removing sand from beaches on a large scale.
    Allowing dangerous chemicals to be buried in land fill sites.
    Venting dangerous refrigerant gas’s directly into the atmosphere.
    Burying light bulbs in landfill that contain dangerous gas and mercury.

    All of these things are dealt with properly by proper minded, properly run governments.

    The government are allowing all these things to happen, why?, because they are broke and cannot afford to enforce against or properly deal with any of those items listed. They also choose to ignore what is happening. They earn huge amounts of revenue from selling beach sand. They save money by doing nothing about any international illegal action or behaviour, such as those listed.

    This government is like a cancer on Vincentian society and are an enemy to the whole World.

    To save all you ULP paid activists from writing drivel here, I have investigated each and every item I have listed and confirm in each case it is happening.

    Unless we stop this behaviour we will become like the red planet, and I am not talking about the red shirts and flags.

  2. I can also report that the Taiwanese quarrying for Rabbaca stuff at Argyle, they are causing ground pollution by oil spillage and by servicing plant, machinery, and vehicles and allowing the oil to contaminate underground water course which will eventually end in the sea.

    Wasn’t it a very small amount of oil spillage that the government used as an excuse to withdraw the license of Bigga Biggs, well this is a hundred times worse.

    I am calling on the government to close them down without any prior notice like you did Mr Samuels. Then give him back his license and stop all this political hatred, spite malice and downright evilness.

    No one can be as irresponsible as the government itself when it comes to pollution.

  3. Climate change is an environmental issue over which the Caribbean has no control since there is not enough industrial output to adversely affect weather patterns.

    What should be focused on is local environmental degradation such as that pointed out by Peter Binose over which governments have absolute control. The rivers of SVG are badly polluted; the beaches are garbage-ridden and degraded by out-of-control sand mining; Kingstown is a filthy, stinking hell hole.

    These and many other environmental issues are the subject of existing laws. The PM should focus on the enforcement of existing legislation in SVG and elsewhere in the Caribbean if he wants to do something about the environment and leave dealing with climate change to those responsible for it — the United States, China, etc.

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