by Susan Gosine
Imagine a community where every citizen is secure and has the opportunity to realize his or her potential with guaranteed human rights and social justice. None can deny the allure of such a life or the unlikeliness of its occurrence. But one has the purity of visions. And it’s the vision of the Member States of the Caribbean Community to provide a future of sustainable development for all the people.
Touting the cause at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar said “we have been doing our part as a sub-region of a small island and low lying developing States to foster regional integration in support of the sustainable development of all of our peoples.”
During her visit to New York she celebrated Trinidad and Tobago’s Republic Day at a gala ceremony hosted by the local TT Consulate and hoisted a Trinidad and Tobago flag outside the UN Building to commemorate the occasion.
In her address, she said: “CARICOM Heads of State and Government have agreed on the vision of a Caribbean Community that is integrated, inclusive and resilient; driven by knowledge, excellence, innovation and productivity. A Community where every citizen is secure and has the opportunity to realize his or her potential with guaranteed human rights and social justice; and can contribute to, and share in, its economic, social and cultural prosperity. A Community which is a unified and competitive force in the global arena.”
The vision was part of a Strategic Framework Plan aimed at a time between 2015 and 2019. Accordingly, it will focus on building economic, social, environmental and technological resilience through a coordinated foreign policy and research and development innovation. Meanwhile, a Post 2015 Development Agenda requested by the CARICOM Heads of State and Government has been working on the eradication of poverty as a central pillar.
Persad-Bissessar said broader measures must create a global policy environment that was more conducive to the achievement of objectives, and afforded greater policy coherence in trade, finance, environment and development. With limited exports and a slim resource base, the focus was on nurturing and developing human resources through innovation and entrepreneurship. It focused fully on the realization of human right to development and a life of dignity.
“Consistent with this approach, the region continues to advance the global cause of truth, justice, and reconciliation, within the context of reparatory justice for the victims and descendants of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.”
She said the region was determined to engage in reparatory dialogue with former slave owning European Nations to discuss living the legacies of these crimes. “This is a critically vital element of the social-economic development aspirations of the region as the victims of these crimes and their descendants were left in a state of social, psychological, economic and cultural deprivation. In addition, they have been left in a state of disenfranchisement that has ensured their suffering and debilitation today, and from which only reparatory action can alleviate their suffering. Sustainable development cannot be achieved in an environment where people are denied their basic rights to live free from fear.”
For those reasons, she said, Trinidad and Tobago was concerned about the developments in the Ukraine and other parts of the globe which has caused pain and suffering to hundreds of innocent victims. “They too must be allowed to live freely. At the same time we note with grave concern the continued failure to find a lasting solution to the decades-old Arab Israeli conflict which caused tremendous loss of life and destruction of property in the Gazza Strip, and left emotional and psychological scars to those families who lost two thousand of their loved ones.”
Trinidad and Tobago remains committed to the negotiation of the two-State solution as the preferred means to bring lasting peace to the region so that the people of Palestine, so long denied their rightful place in the international community can live in larger freedom with their Israeli brothers and sisters. To this end, we also call for the implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions geared towards resolution of the conflict and the lifting of the illegal embargo imposed on the Palestinian people since 2005.
She said terrorism continues to undermine the sovereignty, territorial integrity and peace and security of the peoples of the Middle East and further afield and the resolution adopted by the Security Council would be the catalyst for international cooperation against terrorism.