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Eustace: Falklanders have right to decide

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The Falkland Islanders have a right to decide where they want to go and the New Democratic Party (NDP) supports that right and principle.{{more}}

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said that the issue was for the people of Falkland Islands to determine for themselves what sort of arrangements they wanted.

Eustace made the point on the NDP sponsored ‘New Times’ programme Monday that the Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez, was trying to line up all of Latin America and the Caribbean to go against the people of the Falkland Islands.

“They must determine for themselves what sort of arrangement they want to live under; that is for them to decide the same way, in 1979, we decided in St Vincent and the Grenadines that we are going to be independent,” Eustace explained.

They must determine, as that was the principle of self-determination, he continued.

“That’s their right, those things are enshrined in the UN (United Nations) Charter. So, they have taken a decision to stay with Britain because they are afraid that if they go for full independeice they will be invaded by Argentina,” the Opposition Leader said.

Eustace said that a delegation from the Falkland Islands met with members of the opposition last Wednesday, February 8, as part of a tour of the Caribbean region to rally support against Argentina.

One day earlier, on Tuesday, February 7, at a press conference, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced that coming out of the 11th ALBA summit, a decision was taken by ALBA member states to support Argentina in the issue over the Falkland Islands.

“This is not new, because in December, the community of states of Latin America and the Caribbean which met in Venezuela support was given for the cause of Argentina in principle, but the request was made for the issue to be resolved within the context of talks taking place on sovereignty through the UN’s mechanism, which speaks to a peaceful and definite solution to the dispute,” Gonsalves said.

The only addition according to the prime minister was the paragraph which said that support be given by ALBA member states to ban ships bearing the flag of the Falkland Islands from entering their ports.

This was a decision taken by Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile, Gonsalves explained.

He explained that it was a symbolic gesture for the Caribbean member states to support the declaration and that ships do not come to this country.

“So, when I saw on a news headline somewhere on the net that ALBA countries, including the OECS, ban ships from the Falkland Islands coming, that is not what this said; it said that we are giving support to those countries that had already taken that decision,” the prime minister explained.

But according to Eustace, the Antiguan officials were now saying that it never agreed to that.

“So what is Dominica and St Vincent going to say about that?” he questioned.

Eustace maintained that it was the principle involved and that no one looking for independence would like to be told that they could not do so.

“We have the right to self-determination and so do the Falkland Islanders,” Eustace said. (DD)

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