H.E. THE HONOURABLE
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND COOPERATION
56TH SESSION OF
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My delegation at the outset extends profound sympathy to the families of the victims who lost their lives while in sudden flight to the Dominican Republic.
The rescheduled general debate now convened, well into the work of the 56th Session of the UNGA, only serves to reconfirm our awareness of your great diplomatic and communicative skills. And for this, my delegation thanks and congratulates you once again. Under your competent leadership we hope this will be a fruitful and decisive Session of the Organization.
This being my first opportunity, I would like on behalf of the Government and people of Grenada to heartily congratulate the Secretary-General, His Excellency Kofi Annan and the United Nations on the designation as recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.
Just as the 55th Session was the Millennium Assembly of joyful hope and optimism, this 56th Session, by contrast, can be called the unpredictable assembly of challenge and adversity, from which the international community, nevertheless, can derive strength and unity in the pursuit of a common enemy who will eventually be found and brought to justice.
The challenge and uncertainty have come about because terrorism has descended upon the civilized world. The catastrophic and traumatic events of September 11th have changed not only the lives of individuals for whom we grieve so painfully, but it has also changed the modus vivendi and the modus operandi of our present day civilization in many respects. If this cloud of hatred and revenge is allowed to settle, history will long remember the triumph of evil due to inaction.
Thus, Mr. President, the broad international coalition brought together by the United States of America and supported by Security Council resolution 1373 and General Assembly resolution A/56/L1 stands as a bulwark ready to break the immoral and physical backbone of terrorism.
Grenada fully supports and endorses Security Council Resolution 1373 which sets out important measures that countries large and small, rich and poor, must all take together to prevent and combat terrorists in our jurisdictions or wherever they may be found.
The newly formed Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC), under the chairmanship of the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, is a welcome and laudable effort in the struggle that deserves the backing and support of all member states, morally, strategically and financially. In addition, it is soliciting assistance from persons with particular skills in the performance of special functions.
The Government of Grenada has already begun to take steps within its jurisdiction to implement measures within our capacity that prevent and suppress the financing of terrorists acts.
Our priority is aimed at seeking to prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using Grenada for those purposes against other States or their citizens, as well as finding ways to intensify and accelerate the exchange and the sharing of information. Grenada is examining its administrative and other processes with a view to improving efficiency in this regard.
We are active in the global fight against terrorism. Grenada is cooperating with the United States authorities to ensure that there are no terrorists’ funds in any of our offshore institutions.
Further, Grenada has thoroughly examined its economic Citizenship Program. This was to ensure that no known terrorists had inadvertently been granted Citizenship. We are now confident that no such person is an Economic Citizen of Grenada.
In light of the changed global environment and our commitment to assist in the fight against terrorism, in any way we can, the Government of Grenada has taken a decision to suspend indefinitely, the Economic Citizenship Program.
Added to this, Grenada continues to intensify its participation in regional and international cooperation efforts, as we seek to ensure that there are no gaps in the global framework for the fight against this heinous crime. Grenada will reinforce and extend its international cooperation arrangements in the field of justice, policing and law enforcement.
The Government of Grenada fully supports the development of a comprehensive and effective legal framework to combat terrorism.
My Country has begun a review of international conventions already in place, with a view to signing, ratifying and fully implementing them. Those not yet in effect will be implemented. Some of these conventions are within the UN system while others are of a Regional or Hemispheric nature.
Priority is being given to the existing twelve (12) UN and international conventions against terrorism, in particular, the UN convention on terrorist financing.
It is necessary for the international community to send a clear signal to the terrorists that their philosophy is fundamentally wrong and totally unacceptable. We must stand united in our efforts to combat and exterminate activities aimed at killing innocent people and destroying communities.
The Government of Grenada joins the Caribbean Community in pledging
our full support in the efforts to confront terrorism and restore the rights
and freedoms of people the world over.
My delegation would like to focus for a few moments on the impact that this dastardly act has had nationally, regionally and internationally.
In my Country, as elsewhere in the Caribbean, the effect of the global economic turbulence has hit the tourism and aviation sectors hardest. Tourism, the hotel industry and aviation play a synergistic role so crucial to the economies of most small states, in terms of foreign exchange and employment.
The sub-region had already begun to feel the effects of the international economic downturn, which caused deterioration of our fortunes. But it is clear that since the terrorist attacks on the United States of America, Grenada and the other OECS States are suffering from further reduction in economic activities. We are now severely challenged.
We are experiencing shortfalls in revenue collections. Our tourism
sector is experiencing a drastic reduction in visitor arrivals. Indeed,
the International Monetary Fund predicts arrivals in the Caribbean Region
could fall short by as much as 50 percent. Our air and marine transport
are also experiencing severe reductions. Regional air carriers have
registered as much as 45% fall in passenger load since September 11th.
The picture looks bleak, but we are determined that our response must prevent the devastation envisioned by the perpetrators of terror.
Soon after September 11th, the Prime Minister of Grenada and Chairman
of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr. the Hon. Keith
Mitchell, convened a meeting of the (OECS) to discuss the impact on tourism
and related activities
– hotels, banks, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation.
The sub-regional meeting of the OECS took a number of decisions that would respond to our economic challenges. One such measure is the formation of the Grenada National Economic Council (NEC). This will give effect to the revival of sustainable tourism. It will address fiscal and economic performance, and it will give impetus to productivity.
Additionally, only recently in the Bahamas, the CARICOM Heads of Government met and approved a US$18m Joint Public/Private Sector Emergency Tourism Promotion Programme demonstrating self-help at its best in the Region.
The events of September 11th, with the ensuing economic and geopolitical instability, have propelled us to reorder our priorities. We need to focus on restoring confidence in the international economic and multilateral cooperation.
As we all know, the member states of the World Trade Organization (WTO) do not participate on a level playing field. The developing world is still struggling to bridge the economic and social divide in our global community. Some were not in favor of the second round of negotiations. Yet, most States were willing to put their differences aside and endeavor to march toward the next stage of economic and multilateral cooperation.
This is clearly what we aspire to in this august body.
While terrorism, and rightly so, has dominated the general debate, mention must be made of the unfinished agenda of the last decade of the 20th century with respect to social and economic development, central to which is the human person.
The many UN summit-level conferences that have been held in the past ten years, all stressed sustainable development and the centrality of the human person in the process:
-The UN Conference on Environment and Development
in Rio in 1992;
-The Human Rights Conference in Vienna in 1993;
- The Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994;
- The Social Development Summit in Copenhagen in 1995;
- Habitat II on Urbanization in Istanbul in June 1996;
- The Food Security Summit in Rome 1996;
- The Millennium Summit Declaration in 2000;
- The Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001.
The question is how much of the outcome of these conferences has been implemented with respect to poverty alleviation, the empowerment of women, health, education, children and the elderly, trade liberalization, economic cooperation, information technology transfer.
Could it be that these conferences and special sessions promised more than they could deliver? Promising too much is as bad as doing too little, is still the best conventional wisdom.
The fight against poverty underpins all of the above. To feed the hungry is both a divine and social imperative. Thus, the international community is particularly concerned that the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development to be held next year in Monterrey, Mexico and the World Summit for Sustainable Development (Rio + 10) in Johannesburg, South Africa, both so important for small states, will yield positive results. The Barbados Plan of Action still a major and unfulfilled component of Rio + 10 relating to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) should be high on the implementation agenda this time.
For more than forty years now, an embargo exists against a small country
in the Caribbean. What this has done is ostracize the Cuban people
and caused them undue hardships. What it has achieved is to make
the Cuban people innovative. The old wounds have healed, the pain
dulled and the cause diminished.
I wish to register Grenada’s support for the removal of the United States of America Economic Embargo on Cuba. You will recall, Mr. President, that last year one hundred and seventy six (176) Member States voted in favor of the removal of this embargo. Only three (3) voted against and four (4) abstained. This shows the overwhelming response of the International Community against this sanction.
Trade, as we know, is important for the development of any people and with the establishment of the embargo there is no freedom of trade between Cuba and the United States.
In the wake of the devastation caused to that country by Hurricane Michelle, it is now critical, for steps to be taken to remove the embargo and give the Cuban people a chance to recover from this unstoppable force of nature. The easing of the economic embargo against Cuba can assist in the overall development of that country, a small nation, seeking against all odds, to maintain a modern, dynamic society in the Caribbean and Latin America. The lifting of the embargo will augur well for friendly co-operative relations among all the countries of this Hemisphere.
Now, I turn to the issue of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
Grenada believes that a country that exhibits fortitude and has moved its economy from poor and underdeveloped, to affluent and prosperous deserves recognition. A country that consistently shows international responsibility deserves to be admitted to this community of nations.
The time has come to reconsider the exclusion of the Republic of China
on Taiwan from membership of the United Nations. The Republic of
China is home to twenty three (23) million people. It is a free and
democratic country, and a peace-loving member of the international community.
In economic terms, Mr. President, the Republic of China on Taiwan is the
17th largest economy in the world, the 8th largest investor and the 4th
largest exporter of information technology products, and the 3rd largest
holder of foreign reserves. It is preposterous to continue to keep
such a country outside the World Body.
The Government of Grenada is appealing to correct this wrong. We, therefore, are requesting that the United Nations will recognize the natural rights of the people of Taiwan to become active participants in this organization. We believe that the Government and people of Taiwan are seeking to participate in the United Nations to constructively contribute to the international community. Grenada implores that they are given that right.
However, Grenada notes with satisfaction, the admission of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China on Taiwan and Vanuatu into World Trade Organization (WTO). It is the hope of my delegation that the past, present and future performance of Taiwan as a major democratic and international economic player, though not now a member of the United Nations, will in the not-too-distant future, regain its rightful place in the family of nations.
The United Nations membership must make Article 3 of the Charter a major priority in the next few years. Our founding fathers called for this body: “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion…”
We must do all in our power to provide added economic opportunities for the developing world. For we believe that trade is one avenue to achieve this. I therefore call on the Economic and Social Council to actively pursue undertakings that could create an encouraging atmosphere for Member States to have the opportunity to raise the standard of living of its people.
In this current global environment, we must be conscious that inclusion in the process of the global economy is vital.
Finally, I must recall Article 1 of the United Nations Charter which
calls for the Organization: “to maintain international peace and security;
and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention
and removal of threats to peace....” We must be relentless in our pursuit
of the purposes of this organization. Our challenge is to work towards
the elimination of terrorist activities.
Our quest must be for economic opportunities for all states. And our goal should be for the peaceful coexistence of all peoples of the international community.
Thank you Mr. President.