Wednesday, September 27, 2006 – Saint Lucia's External Affairs Minister
Senator the Honourable Petrus Compton has criticised the international world for
standing idly by while World Trade Organisation (WTO) rulings were destroying
the economies of small island developing states.
Senator Compton made the comments in a recent address to the 61st Session of the
United Nations General Assembly in New York. Saint Lucia and other neighbouring
countries, he said, have been seriously affected by WTO rulings, adversely
frustrating access of their banana exports to preferential markets.
Senator Compton said few in the developed world can appreciate the mass social
dislocation which this decision has caused, with thousands of independent
farmers, employers in their own right, left without a livelihood, through no
fault of their own.
He asked the assembly to consider the fact that for every banana farmer in Saint
Lucia who had lost his or her livelihood, at least four to five persons have
also been cut-off from direct participation in the economic system.
The WTO, he said, has become synonymous with pain and suffering for farmers and
other related economic agents in countries like Saint Lucia. In many instances,
he said, the implementation of WTO obligations has created more hardship and
poverty than previously existed.
Senator Compton in his address also re-affirmed Saint Lucia's commitment to
attaining the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. He also noted the progress
made by the country in the area of health, particularly in the battle against
HIV and AIDS, and also announced the construction of a new national hospital and
mental health facility on the island. He also highlighted the progress which has
been made by the island towards the attainment of Universal Health Care.