Prime Minister's Statement at the South Summit, Havana Cuba, April 12 -14, 2000
STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF SAINT LUCIA
HON. DR. KENNY ANTHONY
THE SOUTH SUMMIT, HAVANA CUBA, 12 - 14TH APRIL 2000
Excellency Dr. Fidel Castro, President of the Republic of Cuba and gracious host of this all-important First Summit of the Group of 77,
H.E. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria and Chairman of the Group of 77,
Fellow Heads of Government,
Other distinguished representatives,
Let me first express the warm and deep appreciation of my delegation for the excellent arrangements and generous hospitality that the Government and People of Cuba have extended to us and all delegations for this meeting. It is fitting that this South Millenium Summit should be taking place in Cuba, an eternal symbol of independence, of the sovereign equality of states, of self–reliance and self-determination. It is a symbol that we need to keep before us as we survey the international order today and ponder on how we can best advance the well being of our peoples in the face of its challenges.
In 1991, at the height of the Gulf Crisis, the then president of the United States of America, proclaimed the advent of a "New World Order," that was supposed to shake the very foundation of the world’s economic, political, military and strategic systems. It was supposed to have been a new world order that would have eroded the ideological divide between East and West and between North and South; that would have responded to the South’s plea for social and distributive justice, for peace and stability, for equity, democracy and respect for the rule of law in the global society.
However, almost a decade after the pronouncement of that new world order, and as we enter a new century, we find ourselves faced instead with a new order which has strong overtones of the old. The old, fossilized ideological imperatives still endure. This morning President Fidel Castro drew the analogy of the new order with the slave ship of old. It is an apt analogy, for the new order is like that shameful vessel, a ship of inequity.
STIFLING ECONOMIC ASPIRATIONS
Today, the twin forces of globalization and trade liberalization are being promoted as the panacea for all the ills of the global society. They are being lauded as the vehicle by which the countries of the South can attain the elusive promised land of economic prosperity, social advancement and parity with the countries of the North. The South is yet to see their fruit. When the WTO rejected the preferential arrangements under which bananas from St. Lucia and other ACP countries are marketed in Europe, it showed that on the contrary, the rules of liberalized trade were in fact being utilised to further stifle the economic aspirations of poor countries.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC APARTHEID
Hence, as we stand, perched on the lip of the new millenium, we are confronted with an international order that continues to be two-tiered, with the few who are rich excluding the many who are poor from their share of the global patrimony in a kind of global economic apartheid. It is a system gripped by anti-immigrant hysteria and a growing xenophobia; scarred by ethnic cleansing and an intolerance of ethnic/religious differences; beseiged by a rampant drug culture threatening to erode the very basis of our democratic societies, as it feeds upon an insatiable demand from the North; marred by a concentration of poverty and diseases such HIV/Aids in the countries of the South.
This really is the new international order that faces us as we gather here for this South Millenium Summit. Our challenge therefore is to work to eliminate those features that perpetuate the imbalances that characterize the North - South relationship. Our task involves working for the reformation and the democratization of multilateral institutions like the United Nations, the Bretton Woods organizations and the World Trade Organization, to allow the countries of the South to participate on an equal footing with the countries of the North.
The challenges that confront us are indeed formidable. Consequently, within the fora of international relations the importance of the South Forum cannot be overstated. This Summit represents an important systemic framework for the institutionalization of South-South cooperation, the accommodation of diverse views and ideologies and the containment of conflicts. Given our relative inability to individually shape and influence international developments, the countries of the South must use the collective strength accorded them by sheer advantage of numbers to ensure that they have a voice in the restructuring of the international economic order; to guarantee that their concerns are addressed and to cease to be passive objects in international affairs. The collapse of the talks to launch the WTO’s Seattle Round of Global Trade Negotiations is an object lesson that benefits can accrue by widening the boundaries of cooperation and shared understanding. The same resilience and resolve that was demonstrated during the WTO’s Seattle Meeting must be continually employed in tackling the problems and attitudes that impede the development of our countries.
COOPERATION WITHIN SOUTH FAMILY
Within our own family we must give expression to the philosophical tenets which created us. Of what use is it to preach to the world community when we unleash economic pain and instability among ourselves? We may all be dispossessed, weak and fragile, yet, there are those among us whose vulnerability is deeper, more complex and more pronounced than others. Mr. President, I speak of the poorest nations and the small states. When the banana producing states of the Caribbean and ACP plead to the World Community for a WTO waiver to protect them from the ravages of trade liberalization, then it ought to be a plea that evokes sympathy, understanding and support.
It is pertinent for me, Mr. President, to express here our satisfaction with the working relationship of the ACP which, with Cuba, represents 72 countries of the South. In our negotiations with the European Union recently, although Europe sought to divide us, the solidarity of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in the post-Lome IV negotiations, demonstrated the gains that flow from our unity. What we have done in the ACP we can do many times over in the unity of the South.
Let those of us gathered here consider ourselves the architects of the "New South". It is no coincidence that we are meeting here in Havana for the first South Summit of the new millenium. Cuba’s international assistance programme with countries of the South is a shining example of South – South cooperation. This heroic country is a noble symbol of the South’s struggles against colonialism, imperialism and domination. Cuba has given so much, yet received so little in return.
As we seek to fashion a " New South ", let us draw our strength and resolve from the experience of the heroic Cuban people. Let us commit ourselves to work together to make this twenty – first century, the century of the South.
© 2012 Government Information Service. All rights reserved.
Read our privacy guidelines.