SVG on world stage
THE YEAR 2020 will be, in many ways, a most momentous one for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is a year in which one expects that locally, issues of electioneering will dominate, irrespective of whether the next general elections are held by December or early in 2021, the bulk of the campaigning will take place this year.
However, there is far more to 2020 than elections or campaigning, for this is the year that we can truly say that our country has arrived on the world stage. Nowhere is this more evident than in our tiny country taking a seat at the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member from January 1. It must be remembered that this position has been obtained by the overwhelming vote of the member nations of the world body, supported by countries big and small, rich and poor, of varying ideologies and outlooks, a ringing endorsement of our credibility on the global stage.
Our Prime Minister himself led the entrance on to the stage when he not only addressed an Open Debate of the Council on January 9, but made his mark with comments very relevant to the interests of not only our country, but to the vast majority of member nations of the UN, so much so that it has been highly praised. A subsequent announcement has been made of SVG hosting a Retreat of Security Council members this weekend.
This is not the only host activity for our country this weekend, for the 26th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the CARIFORUM region (CARICOM plus the Dominican Republic) will also be held here. This is a crucial
meeting, for very important issues are on the agenda. They include BREXIT, the breakaway of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU), the ongoing negotiations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states with the EU and the Economic partnership Agreement between CARIFORUM and the EU.
These matters are critical not only for our trade but moreso for development issues. The spaces won in previous agreements are now threatened by the shift to narrow nationalism and big-power domination very evident in the policies of some of our major trading nations. SVG must do all in its sphere of influence to both maintain the integrity and solidarity of the CARIFORUM and ACP groups as well as to try and preserve whatever gains we have made collectively in previous negotiations and even to extend them.
Clearly there is evidence of respect for our small developing nation, sometimes not fully appreciated by our own people. For countries as small as ours, these are not to be taken lightly for they do have significant influence on development opportunities. There are still those among us who do not appreciate modern realities and try to portray their own country as some sort of international mendicant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our standing is as a result of hard work, principle, integrity and being “friends of all, and enemies of none”. It is to be hoped that any successive administration, regardless of political colouration, would continue in this vein, in the best interests of all.