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Saint Lucia's External Affairs Minister Sen Petrus Compton Lashes Out at WTO

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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.

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