H.E. Mr. David Thompson, Prime Minister and Minister for
Finance, Economic Affairs and Development, Labour, Civil Service and Energy
26 September 2008
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DAVID J.H. THOMPSON, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Development, Labour, Civil Service and Energy of Barbados, said his country was a stable, progressive, small State with a high human development rating. With its well-developed social democratic system, Barbados placed great priority on policies which nurtured individuals and continued to assure its people universal access to quality education, health care and housing in an environment respectful of human rights and the rule of law. He said, however, that while trying to keep his country competitive, his Government was faced with a high cost of living driven by increasing food and energy prices, along with domestic and international debt. He reiterated his country’s commitment to world peace and vestigial imperialism.
He noted the need for special attention to the vulnerabilities and challenges faced by small island developing States, such as climate change and natural disasters which constrained sustainable development. A one-size-fits-all attitude threatened to further marginalize Barbados in the new international trading arrangements, but the country would continue to show leadership within the small vulnerable economies group in advocating the creation of a regime of special, and differential, treatment to cater to the group’s unique circumstances.
He said that, because Barbados was a middle-income developing country, it were deemed too successful to qualify for concessionary financing, but too high risk for favourable terms on capital markets. He would, therefore, lobby for adequate support mechanisms to ensure that the development process was not derailed.
He said Barbados was working with other Caribbean States to protect the Caribbean Sea from overexploitation and degradation. It was also working to secure its borders from drugs and arms trafficking, money-laundering and terrorism. The current international economic crisis threatened to derail the progress of many States, and worsen the already desperate circumstances of the most vulnerable.
Investment in alternative forms of energy was imperative. The measures proposed by United Nations agencies, and those agreed at the Rome Conference, must find expression in specific programmes and projects in response to the issue of food security. The successful outcome of the Doha Review Conference on Financing for Development must include a genuine global partnership to provide the required financial resources for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
He noted that the causes of the present global financial crisis were firmly rooted in the failure of the international community to reform an undemocratic and antiquated system of international economic governance that had not kept pace with the rapid growth of global interdependence. “Those responsible for the financial crisis cannot be trusted to heal it,” he said. The Economic and Social Council must be empowered to play a more meaningful role in global economic decision-making, consistent with the mandate entrusted to it by the Charter. Even with the recent strengthening of the Council, its current responsibilities fell short of the role envisaged for it by the founders of the United Nations.