PHILIP JOSEPH PIERRE, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, said that the Sustainable Development Goals are in peril. He described his country’s entire post-independence experience as one of dashed expectations and institutional frustration, adding: “In the 1990s, we watched helplessly as powerful countries utilized the World Trade Organization (WTO) to dismantle Saint Lucia’s marketing arrangements for bananas in Europe, forcing hundreds of our farmers into poverty, while these already rich countries provided huge subsidies to their own farmers.” Mentioning Caribbean financial services industries that were blacklisted, he said that the Russian-Ukrainian war revealed which metropolitan capitals are the real tax havens and the true pipelines for illicit money. “Our citizenship by investment programmes, which we have successfully pursued for decades, are being undermined while the golden passport and golden visa programmes of some OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries remain unquestioned, untouched and unmolested,” he noted.
Recalling that the people of the Caribbean and Saint Lucia have been designated by the African Union as part of its sixth region which comprises people of African origin, he stated: “We feel ourselves obliged to seek justice, through reparations, for the crimes against humanity that tore our ancestors from our African homeland and enslaved them in the lands of the Western hemisphere.” Reparations for slavery mean that the countries which benefited and developed from 400 years of free labour from enslaved humans should now provide compensation, he said, urging the United Nations to embrace this principle as a central part of its work. Stating that developed countries behave as though they are blameless and not responsible to repair and compensate for the damage they have inflicted on the planet, he said that the goal of 1.5°C to stay alive is now very much at risk and called for an ambitious global climate action plan to 2030 and a complete reform of the global financial system.
Underscoring that there is no peace and the Sustainable Development Goals are in jeopardy, he asked: “How can trust and global solidarity for sustainable development be rebuilt when the unwarranted Russian war in Ukraine rages on with its collateral economic damage to other countries the world over, of biting inflation, particularly on food prices, high oil prices and shortage of food?” He also said that the embargo against Cuba must immediately be withdrawn, the sanctions against Venezuela should cease, the Palestinian people should have their own State alongside Israel and the people of Taiwan should be allowed the continued enjoyment of their right to self-determination. He expressed grave concern over the deteriorating political, social, humanitarian and security crises in Haiti which requires attention. “The need for robust security assistance to counter the murderous armed gangs is clear,” he stated, voicing the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) hopes that the establishment of the multinational force will be given full endorsement by the Security Council to support restoration of law and order and improve the humanitarian conditions of Haiti’s people. As CARICOM welcomes Kenya’s willingness to lead such a multinational force, he urged various Haitian stakeholders to cooperate with the Community to find a political compromise for the sake of the Haitian people.
He also said that illegal firearms were responsible for 70 per cent of the homicides in CARICOM States in 2022 while neither Saint Lucia, nor its fellow CARICOM member States manufacture small arms. He welcomed the announcement by the United States to provide technical assistance to combat illegal weapons smuggling into the Caribbean.
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