BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 8TH 2013 (CUOPM) – A call for St. Kitts and Nevis and small island states to ensure that the changes observe across the world transcend the physical environmental landscape into the economic and geopolitical benefits.
It has come from St. Kitts and Nevis’ Acting Prime Minister the Hon. Marcella Liburd who while pointing out that over time, demographics fluctuate, political ideologies fail, governments crumble, economic and financial systems are derailed and groups of states disintegrate and others merge into single spaces, the surrounding discourses and events of these reference points, all tell of profound changing times.
“These and similar global events and trends have at different times affected and are effecting, at varying magnitudes, global political and economic reconfigurations. St. Kitts and Nevis and States with similar characteristics are not immune to these new features of our global society. Our interdependent world guarantees this,” said Ms. Liburd as she delivered the feature address at the start of a two-day Retreat for Heads of Mission of St. Kitts and Nevis at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
She told local diplomats posted overseas, Non-Resident Ambassadors and High Commissioners and Honorary Consuls that St. Kitts and Nevis, as a Small Island Developing State, must be aware of the limitations but confident of its potential.
“We are making every effort to ensure that our approach to these changes extracts maximum benefit for our development. This is why we are diversifying our global partnerships. This is why we are seeking new markets for our tourism and manufacturing products. This is why we are incorporating renewable energy into our energy mix and transitioning to a green economy. This is why we are ensuring that no child in this beloved Federation is left behind without an education anchored on innovation and technology. This is why we are providing skills training and empowering our young people. This is why we are reforming our social safety nets program to ensure that they reach the most vulnerable among us. This is why more and more women are being placed in leadership positions as is evident in the growing number of women serving as ambassadors today. These efforts and more reflect the response of a progressive government to contemporary change,” she said.
She is of the view that at the macro level, St. Kitts and Nevis believes that its efforts regionally through its integration systems provide a bulwark for the people against the disadvantages of the globalization of hyper-change.
“Regional integration systems for some time now have come to represent the ultimate change in the theory of international relations, that is, the move from the strict application of the Westphalian model into the more contemporarily appropriate supra-nationalism epitomized in regionalism,” said the Acting Prime Minister.
She referred to the evolution of the European Economic Community (EEC), which after progressive reviews undertaken by the need to remain relevant in international affairs, developed into the European Community. This in turn, was remodeled most recently through the Lisbon Treaty to what we now know today as the European Union.
“Without venturing too far afield, we can recall the recent formation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC); the revision of the Treaty of Chaguaramas to facilitate the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), and the transformation within the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with the creation of the Economic Union not too long ago,” said Ms. Liburd, who added:
“These revolutions appear to be consistent with the view that economic integration and functional cooperation in the global liberalized economy can provide opportunities for greater competitive advantage, particularly for States such as ours. This is why we encourage our people to take full advantage of these regimes so as to secure the benefits that are to be derived.”
Ms. Liburd, who spoke in the absence on Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin, noted that as “our national and regional projects bear fruit for our people, we must pledge to be more creative and innovative in engaging external partners.”
“If there is one teachable moment to take from the lingering economic and financial crises plaguing the world it is that our debaters, interviewers and speakers on the whole cannot continue to be one dimensional. These crises were not merely a result of government actions therefore their resolutions require that all actors participate in the rebuilding of our economic and financial foundations,” she said.
Ms. Liburd said that the Caribbean, including St. Kitts and Nevis, should be proactive in engaging private sector partners to commit to work with their governments to boost public financing for greater financial stability and sustainability.
“Similarly, our Ambassadors in their respective jurisdictions must ensure that their Missions are hubs for trade and investment promotion. We have put frameworks and agreements in place such as the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement that auger well for trade with that critical market. A part of this approach mandates that we shake off timidity in highlighting and selling the benefits of trading and investing in St. Kitts and Nevis. We would recall that the Caribbean was once central to global trade in key commodities. We can be that again. Our geo strategic position between North America and South America, a rising region, should be a key selling point,” said Acting Prime Minister Liburd.
Photo 1 – Acting Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Marcella Liburd delivering the Feature Address at the Retreat for Heads of Mission for St. Kitts and Nevis