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SVG’s UN voting rights will not be interrupted – King

SVG’s UN voting rights will not be interrupted – King

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St Vincent and the Grenadines’ voting rights at the United Nations will not be interrupted by its arrears, as the matter is expected to be rectified shortly.

This, according to Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of St Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, following the recent publication of articles in the international media,{{more}} which listed St Vincent and the Grenadines as one of 15 countries that are in arrears in paying their annual contribution to the UN regular budget.

Speaking with SEARCHLIGHT on Sunday, King explained that the occurrence was the result of a “mere clerical error,”

Explaining that the annual contribution varies from year to year, King said that recently SVG’s contribution was assessed at US$41,557. However, by the time this new assessment was made, SVG had already transferred US$39,313 (a previous assessment) to the UN.

“A new request had to be made for the difference. It has already been made, but the Accountant General was not able to make that adjustment before the report went to the [UN] General Assembly… The necessary adjustment will be made in a matter of days,” she noted.

The Prime Minister also weighed in on the matter, dismissing accusations of misspending monies owed to the United Nations (UN) as “rubbish”, and pointing out that the balance due is down to an error between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Accountant General’s office.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves addressed the matter while speaking on Star FM yesterday.

“It’s just an unfortunate occurrence. As you notice, it’s a very small sum, and it has to do with the transference of the actual monies. I don’t know whether it had anything to do with exchange rates, faulty communication, but it is an issue which clearly there was an error between the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Accountant General’s office,” explained Gonsalves.

Gonsalves further explained that the bill from the UN comes through the Permanent Mission in the United States, goes to the Permanent Secretary and is dealt with by the Accountant General.

“The money is approved in the recurrent expenditure… our dues are far in excess of $2,000 (US)… When you have that, you will know that it has to be some… issue between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Accountant General.”

He also noted that rich nations, such as Bahrain, also appear on the UN’s list of countries which are in arrears.

“You can see clearly that there is some administrative hiccoughs…

“I believe that the matter has been given that prominence because of a couple of other countries on the list – like Venezuela and so on.”

The other countries on the list include Iran, Burundi, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu – with owed amounts ranging from just under US$3 million to $1,360.

Under normal circumstances, being in arrears with the UN results in member nations not being able to vote. (JSV)

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