Insanally: Caricom/Rio Group must be vigilant on Haiti
Wednesday, June 21st 2006
The Rio Group and Caricom must continue their vigilance in pursuit of the restoration of democracy in Haiti, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rudy Insanally says.
In his address at the opening ceremony of the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Rio Group at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel yesterday, Insanally, as host, noted that Caricom and the Rio Group's combined effort to restore democracy in Haiti, which he said for far too long was subjected to autocratic and repressive governments, was an outstanding example of the effectiveness of its coordination.
Through sustained diplomacy, he said, the Rio Group and Caricom were able to place the situation of Haiti before the United Nations Security Council for urgent attention and consideration. Guyana's current chairmanship of the Rio Group makes it the first time that an English-speaking country of Caricom is chairing it.
The United Nations Stabilization Mission In Haiti or MINUSTAH (the acronym for "Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en HaÃ¯ti", the French name), the peacekeeping mission of the United Nations in Haiti, which was instrumental in preparing for free and fair elections there, was spearheaded by members of the Rio Group, notably Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
Though Haiti now has a democratically-elected government, Insanally said the task was not yet finished and they "must be vigilant to ensure that the financial assistance promised by the international community to support Haiti's reconstruction was forthcoming."
In response to President Rene Preval's request, he said, Caricom and the Rio Group should seek not only to increase the size of MINUSTAH but also to extend its mandate to include a strong development component to consolidate the gains made in the area of political stabilization.
On February 14, 2006, the United Nations Security Council extended MINUSTAH's mandate until August 15, 2006.
Insanally noted that the democratic process in the region would soon be put to the test in elections to be held in several Latin American and Caribbean countries this year.
Speaking on a number of issues pertinent to the region, including crime and security, Insanally said threats of instability and insecurity were propagated by increasing violence as a result of the spread of trans-boundary crime, arms and drug-trafficking.
Noting the limited human and financial resources and the fact that the police and military forces are ill-equipped to repel encroachment by criminal groups, he said that only through closer collaboration and collective action and the sharing of intelligence and other capabilities could sovereignty and national integrity survive.
On the issue of migration due to rapid globalisation, he said many countries benefit from remittances and in some cases remittances account for a major part of budgetary resources but on the other hand there is loss of talent and skills essential for development of national economies.
A recent IMF study has concluded that remittances do not sufficiently compensate for the brain drain that occurs, and it is one aspect of the complex phenomenon of migration, Insanally said that should be considered at a high-level meeting scheduled to be held at the UN later this year.
Stating that all countries in the hemisphere have an interest in this issue, he said that they should all consult and coordinate their position on it.
Referring to the threats of natural disasters and the greater frequency with which they have been occurring in the hemisphere, particularly hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, he said that the Rio Group should urge the creation of a more rapid international response mechanism; speedy disbursement of funding by the relevant financial agencies; and the coordination of operations under the aegis of the UN.
On the need for additional financing for development on which several member states and the international community have made proposals for implementation, he said that an evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals has shown that without new and additional financing, the objectives of the MDGs would not be reached. Some US$50 billion is needed to bridge the gap.
Among the proposals were an initiative against poverty and hunger put forward by Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; an international humanitarian fund by Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez and a New Global Human Order advocated by Guyana's late president Cheddi Jagan.
Stating that Guyana would welcome further support on the new global order by the Rio Group, Insanally said it would be ideal if the initiatives he alluded to, were forged into a single thrust in the international arena to bring about a new and more effective model of development.
On the issue of the energy crisis and its impact on development and on efforts at integration, he said that while the subject was a controversial and divisive one, countries in the region should strive to ensure that it leads not to conflict but to cooperation in the interest of the common good.
On the issue of democracy and development to prosper, he said that while the UN acknowledges the principle of the equality of states, the current structure for global governance does not allow for democratic representation and decision-making.
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