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SVG in run for non-permanent seat on United Nations Security Council

SVG in run for non-permanent seat on United Nations Security Council


St Vincent and the Grenadines has put its name forward for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, to represent the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, for the 2019-2020 term.

Describing the move as “bold,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Camillo Gonsalves made the announcement on Sunday, while a guest on the Issue At Hand programme on We FM.{{more}}

Gonsalves said, should St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) be successful in the election, we will be the smallest nation by population, ever, to serve on the Security Council.

He said already, over 50 countries have expressed, in writing, their support for the candidacy of SVG.

“We expect that as the election gets closer, and our campaign gets more intensive, that of course that number will grow,” Gonsalves said.

In relation to the cost of the bid, the foreign minister said SVG will collaborate with other CARICOM countries.

“We have a small staff at the UN now, but we intend to ramp up that staff as we get closer to the election date, and the Caribbean countries, the countries of CARICOM, the other 13 nations of CARICOM, view our candidacy as their candidacy, so some of the countries in CARICOM have pledged their support to SVG in terms of staffing and financing and so on.

“Not that we couldn’t do it without them, but we want to do this in a collaborative way….” he said.

Gonsalves said SVG has evaluated what it will cost and have concluded that we will not lose money by being on the Security Council.

“We have spoken to other small countries that have served on the Security Council to ask them what it cost them, what were the challenges, how they managed to cut some corners, and keep some things tight. We think it is worth the expenditure, in that regard, especially since we will have support from our friends, and also, if you look at all the data, when you are on the Security Council, your voice is magnified, your presence is more felt and countries on the Security Council are able to access and gain greater resources while they are on the Council than before they were on the Council. I don’t want to look at this again as a mathematical thing, but if you do look at it in a mathematical way, I don’t think we would be losing money by being on the Security Council.”

The minister said our candidacy is important as this country’s contribution to peace and security is a special one, and there are lessons a Caribbean nation like SVG can teach the Security Council.

“We believe that island states and small states and poor states, have a different view on how you bring peace to the world, than rich, large powerful countries. Rich, large powerful countries will either throw money at a problem or they will throw armies at a problem. But we who have no money and no armies, think that there are different ways to solve problems,” he said.

If successful, SVG will be the fourth CARICOM country to sit on the Security Council and the first island or CARICOM country to do so in 20 years.

SVG had initially signalled its intention to bid for the 2011-2012 term, but abandoned the plan amid criticism by the Opposition that Kingstown was being used as a proxy for Venezuela and its president, Hugo Chavez, who wished to challenge Colombia’s candidacy.

However, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said then that SVG’s bid for the Security Council seat was not to be viewed as anti-Colombian. The Government indicated that it was withdrawing its bid after other CARICOM member states had indicated that they already would have been supporting Colombia.

The Security Council of the United Nations is composed of five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also has 10 non-permanent members, who serve for two-year terms. Each Council member has one vote.

Under the UN Charter, all members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.

While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to Governments, the Council alone has the power to take decisions which Member States are obligated under the Charter to carry out.