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PM: ‘Look with own eyes, listen with own ears’


“We must look with our own eyes, listen with our own ears and speak with our own voice.”

That was the advice Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves left with the Third World as he addressed the meeting of Head of State and Government Saturday morning last in Havana, Cuba.{{more}}

Dr Gonsalves headed the six-man delegation of Vincent and the Grenadines whose participation at the 14th Summit of Non Aligned nations continues to be talked about even after the end of the meeting of 118 of the world’s developing nations.

It was Foreign Minister Sir Louis Straker who had set the tone for his country’s media grabbing performance Friday 15th last during the Ministerial Meeting.

Speaking from the floor, Sir Louis made a three-minute impassioned plea for the rights of peoples to be respected as he mentioned the plight suffered by indigenous people, to the thunderous applause following his three minute intervention. He recalled the struggles of his nation of 110,000 “to make a living” after being blacklisted because of the country’s offshore banking laws.

Prime Minister Gonsalves told the meeting of heads of state and governments Saturday morning with a message of hope for a revitalized Non Aligned Movement (NAM). He stressed that NAM, if united on “certain fundamentals in theory and practice holds the potential to make a marked difference to ensure peace, stability, justice, freedom, prosperity and civilized living.” (See page 14 for the prime minister’s full address).

The SVG delegation took its share of media attention throughout the September 11 to 16th meeting with Ambassadors Ellsworth John and Dexter Rose being featured in Cuban newspapers on successive days, while Ambassador Margaret Ferrari was interviewed and featured on the BBCs Carribean Report and Caribbean Magazine programme.

Foreign Minister Sir Louis Straker was interviewed by Cuban television following his intervention at the ministers’ meeting while the prime minister’s second address to the gathering of world leaders late Saturday night speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean sub-region was repeated several times on Sunday and Monday on Cuban TV and the major newscasts.

On Saturday 16, both Sir Louis, Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Gonsalves chaired sessions of the Plenary Meeting of Heads of State sharing the duties with Acting President Raul Castro.

St Vincent and the Grenadines joined the NAM in 2003 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, following the coming into office of the Unity Labour Party led by Dr Gonsalves.

The NAM was formed in Yugoslavia in September 1961. Two new Caribbean nations Haiti and St. Kitts Nevis have become the two latest members taking the number to 118.