PHILIP JOSEPH PIERRE, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, underscored his firm commitment to the principle of non-interference in the internal politics of other nations. He encouraged the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to coordinate foreign policy and maintain mutual respect. He also highlighted that small island developing States continued to suffer from their vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change. Regarding the pandemic, he thanked the COVAX Facility, as well as the United States and India, for providing access to vaccines. However, he voiced his regret about the gap between nations in vaccine distribution and the lack of universal standards for quarantine, isolation and other requirements.
Pointing to Saint Lucia’s economic challenges, he called for the abolition of criteria for accessing concessional development finance, the adoption of a global vulnerability index, and immediate measures to safeguard the solvency of small island developing States. These measures should include debt restructuring and write-off, support to strengthen health systems, more equitable distribution and access to vaccines and assistance for recovery. The pandemic hindered the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Saint Lucia does not have the capacity to fight both COVID-19 and climate change, he stressed, and requested richer nations to fulfil their financial pledges by contributing to the adaptation and mitigation funds during the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).
He noted that Saint Lucia remained among a handful of countries that maintain official relations with the Government of Taiwan and he invited nations to recognize that country as a legitimate partner in international institutions. He also encouraged the United States and Cuba to pursue diplomatic reconciliation during the Biden-Harris Administration. The embargo against Cuba hinders development in Cuba and the economic integration of the Caribbean region. Voicing concern about the situation in Venezuela, he said that the economic embargo by a few powerful countries was unacceptable and the endorsement of an alternative illegitimate president outrageous. The freezing of Venezuelan assets and the embargo on basic food and medical supplies was “modern day piracy, economic terrorism and crimes against humanity”, he declared.
Ensuring the balanced development of the global community required more solidarity and closer partnership with small island developing States, he underlined. Pointing to Saint Lucia’s exploitation by European nations, he said that it put forward a case for reparations against slavery and native genocide. Recalling his country’s endorsement of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, he emphasized that this was “an open wound crying of out for justice, healing, compassion and closure”.
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