Categorized | News, Regional

Prime Minister reiterates call for reparation for transatlantic slave trade

PM-Gonsalves-at-UNGA-2015By Nelson A. King UNITED NATIONS, Sept 30, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has called for reparatory justice from the major participants in, and beneficiaries of, the transatlantic slave trade.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) here on Tuesday, Gonsalves said that the impacts of native genocide and the institution of slavery on Caribbean states have resulted in a “legacy of underdevelopment” and “an historic bundle of wrongs to be righted”.

He told the international community “our quest for justice is supported by the 33 members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and numerous progressive nations globally.

“The fate of our indigenous peoples and the legacies of slavery and colonial exploitation are neither partisan political talking points nor historical afterthoughts. They are an ever-present modern reality, whose redress remains a noise in our blood and an echo in our bones,” he told the 70th Session of the UNGA.

“The discussion and engagement with those who benefitted immeasurably from their monstrous crimes must begin in earnest. We are resolute in our pursuit of a just redress and the furtherance of our collective healing and humanization. These issues must form part of the Post 2015 development conversation; and as part, too, of our combined efforts to uplift the Decade for Peoples of African Descent.”

But he said at the same time it pains him to speak and demand appropriate redress on the subject of retroactive stripping of citizenship of persons of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic and their forcible deportations to Haiti, a country to which many of these victims have only a “vague ancestral connection.

“I am aware that certain domestic complexities prompt this deep-seated institutionalized intolerance and discrimination,” he said.

“We in the Caribbean Community are pledged to work with our Caribbean family in the Dominican Republic to assist in ending this tragedy at the heart of our Caribbean civilization, but the authorities in the Dominican Republic must demonstrate a good faith not merely in words but in deeds.

Gonsalves said St. Vincent and the Grenadines cannot remain silent or indifferent in the face of “this gross violation of human rights,” stating that “this is not a migration issue of the type that is currently engulfing the European Union.

At its core, Gonsalves said is an international human rights issue “of the gravest kind upon which United Nations must pronounce unambiguously.

“Accordingly, we demand a full and just resolution of this cynical denial of human rights,” he said, urging the United Nations to stand “in firm opposition to those who obstruct and make ill-founded arguments rooted not in international law and universalist values but in a jingoistic abuse of the concept of sovereignty in a quest to perpetuate a status quo which is plainly wrong”.

In his address, Gonsalves also expressed deep concern about “the sharpening of rhetoric between our longtime friends and allies in Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

He noted that their border dispute, which dates back to the 19thcentury, has long been constrained by the ties of brotherhood, solidarity and international cooperation.

“Accordingly, we call for renewed and reinvigorated diplomatic engagement in the management and ultimate resolution of this vexing issue,” he urged.

On Taiwan, he also appealed to the United Nations that celebration of its 70thyear be one not only action but of “inclusion, outreach and redress of calcified injustices.

“As such, we must move beyond our inexplicable exclusion of Taiwan from the work of the specialized agencies of the United Nations.

“The perspective, experience and example of Taiwan as an active and responsible global citizen are self-evident arguments in support of their greater inclusion and participation,” Gonsalves said, adding that Taiwan’s continued exclusion can neither be explained nor justified by any rational and forward-looking global gathering.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said the Caribbean continues to be heavily impacted by climate change.

“Our existential struggles in the face of climate change inform our posture in the frustratingly meandering negotiations to arrive at a legally-binding agreement within the parameters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We are two months away from a deadline for reaching such an agreement at COP 21 in Paris, but the precariousness of our global plight is not matched by the ambition of our partners,” Gonsalves said, adding that the the posturing and recalcitrance of some majoremitters suggest that COP 21 may be yet another empty diplomatic dance that prioritizes process over progress.”

Gonsalves said St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other islands and coastal states will not settle for any agreement that does not “comprehensively and unambiguously bind major emitters to deep and ambitious emissions cuts, and meaningful financing commitments to fund adaptation and mitigation efforts in the most vulnerable countries”.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

PM-Gonsalves-at-UNGA-2015By Nelson A. King UNITED NATIONS, Sept 30, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has called for reparatory justice from the major participants in, and beneficiaries of, the transatlantic slave trade.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) here on Tuesday, Gonsalves said that the impacts of native genocide and the institution of slavery on Caribbean states have resulted in a “legacy of underdevelopment” and “an historic bundle of wrongs to be righted”.

He told the international community “our quest for justice is supported by the 33 members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and numerous progressive nations globally.

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“The fate of our indigenous peoples and the legacies of slavery and colonial exploitation are neither partisan political talking points nor historical afterthoughts. They are an ever-present modern reality, whose redress remains a noise in our blood and an echo in our bones,” he told the 70th Session of the UNGA.

“The discussion and engagement with those who benefitted immeasurably from their monstrous crimes must begin in earnest. We are resolute in our pursuit of a just redress and the furtherance of our collective healing and humanization. These issues must form part of the Post 2015 development conversation; and as part, too, of our combined efforts to uplift the Decade for Peoples of African Descent.”

But he said at the same time it pains him to speak and demand appropriate redress on the subject of retroactive stripping of citizenship of persons of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic and their forcible deportations to Haiti, a country to which many of these victims have only a “vague ancestral connection.

“I am aware that certain domestic complexities prompt this deep-seated institutionalized intolerance and discrimination,” he said.

“We in the Caribbean Community are pledged to work with our Caribbean family in the Dominican Republic to assist in ending this tragedy at the heart of our Caribbean civilization, but the authorities in the Dominican Republic must demonstrate a good faith not merely in words but in deeds.

Gonsalves said St. Vincent and the Grenadines cannot remain silent or indifferent in the face of “this gross violation of human rights,” stating that “this is not a migration issue of the type that is currently engulfing the European Union.

At its core, Gonsalves said is an international human rights issue “of the gravest kind upon which United Nations must pronounce unambiguously.

“Accordingly, we demand a full and just resolution of this cynical denial of human rights,” he said, urging the United Nations to stand “in firm opposition to those who obstruct and make ill-founded arguments rooted not in international law and universalist values but in a jingoistic abuse of the concept of sovereignty in a quest to perpetuate a status quo which is plainly wrong”.

In his address, Gonsalves also expressed deep concern about “the sharpening of rhetoric between our longtime friends and allies in Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

He noted that their border dispute, which dates back to the 19thcentury, has long been constrained by the ties of brotherhood, solidarity and international cooperation.

“Accordingly, we call for renewed and reinvigorated diplomatic engagement in the management and ultimate resolution of this vexing issue,” he urged.

On Taiwan, he also appealed to the United Nations that celebration of its 70thyear be one not only action but of “inclusion, outreach and redress of calcified injustices.

“As such, we must move beyond our inexplicable exclusion of Taiwan from the work of the specialized agencies of the United Nations.

“The perspective, experience and example of Taiwan as an active and responsible global citizen are self-evident arguments in support of their greater inclusion and participation,” Gonsalves said, adding that Taiwan’s continued exclusion can neither be explained nor justified by any rational and forward-looking global gathering.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said the Caribbean continues to be heavily impacted by climate change.

“Our existential struggles in the face of climate change inform our posture in the frustratingly meandering negotiations to arrive at a legally-binding agreement within the parameters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We are two months away from a deadline for reaching such an agreement at COP 21 in Paris, but the precariousness of our global plight is not matched by the ambition of our partners,” Gonsalves said, adding that the the posturing and recalcitrance of some majoremitters suggest that COP 21 may be yet another empty diplomatic dance that prioritizes process over progress.”

Gonsalves said St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other islands and coastal states will not settle for any agreement that does not “comprehensively and unambiguously bind major emitters to deep and ambitious emissions cuts, and meaningful financing commitments to fund adaptation and mitigation efforts in the most vulnerable countries”.