Mr. President, distinguished ministers, heads of delegations, ladies and gentlemen.


May I too thank the government and people in Mexico particularly those in this beautiful and historic Mayan city of Merida for the warmth of their welcome, the generosity of the hospitality, and the excellence of the arrangements thy have provided for this high level political conference for the signing of the United Nations Convention against corruption.


Barbados is happy to be participating in this important ceremony, which marks the culmination of the commitment and hard work of the several delegations which labored tirelessly during the seven sessions of the Ad Hoc Negotiating Committee in Vienna.


In that exercise they were aided by the vision and optimism of the secretary general of the United Nations. Mr. Kofi Annan, and the organizing skills of the Office of Drugs and Crime in Vienna.

In this regard my delegation pays respect to the memory of the late Ambassador Hector Charry Samper of Colombia, whose knowledge; acumen and tact were important assets as he guided the negotiations towards a successful conclusion.


This convention is another step towards bringing order to an increasingly disorderly world. Transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, inter alia, all combine to unsettle societies, create chaos, disrupt economies, and wreak havoc on the rule of law.


Corruption is of this genre. It is insidious in nature and global in scope. It places heavy and inordinate financial burdens on states, particularly small developing states which must divert already scarce resources from critical development areas like education, health, and housing to meet the new administrative, policing, and security costs these evils bring.


And all this at a time when new global trends in trade arrangements threaten to marginalize developing economies and those in transition.


We in Barbados have seen the devastation which corruption has wrought in other countries; the wholesale looting of public treasuries, and the resultant impoverishment of the people. We have seen the insatiable greed and unconscionable practices of the private sector in some countries.


We will therefore be robust in our prevention measures. We will spare no effort in the war against corruption. We will fully deploy weapons made available by this convention. We will enlist the aid of civil society, NGO's and community based organizations in our efforts. We must not fail.


To ensure effective implementation of the convention, it would be useful if the UN office of Drugs and Crime organize a team of experts who would provide skills and advice to countries which need and seek assistance, particularly whit legislative programs, and the setting up of administrative, investigative, and prosecutorial structures to deal with the offences detailed in the convention. The use of national and regional seminars and training sessions would be helpful.


International assistance to developing countries is critical to the successful implementation of this convention. Mr. President I have already signed the convention on behalf of the government of Barbados. My delegation looks forward to its early ratification.