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Act now!

Prime minister wants less talk and more action on SIDS

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has told the international community it cannot measure the development of small island developing states (SIDS) by GDP per capita alone.

Addressing the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa, he said the matter was one of great concern to his delegation, while insisting that GDP per capita could not be the defining criterion for accessing concessionary financing at the international level.

“If in developed countries with abundant natural and other resources, GDP per capita can be a deceptive and misleading measure for a man or a woman who wants a job, or a home or seed capital to start a business and cannot get it, a fortiori would it be a majestic deception in a struggling SIDS country where unemployment reigns, and where pressing and unmet demands for access to healthcare and education, low income housing and basic infrastructure from a sizeable part of the population are the keys on which the doleful melody of daily life is played,” warned Stuart.

He said the time had come for “new approaches” to be designed to assist middle income countries such as Barbados, as well as others which have been graduated from access to concessional resources.

The Prime Minister also noted that proposed mechanisms for addressing these concerns already existed within the Barbados Programme of Action, which arose out of the first SIDS conference back in 1994, as well as the Maritius Strategy which came out of the subsequent SIDS meeting.

However, he sought to remind delegates to the Samoa conference that “man cannot live by acronyms and catch phrases alone”.

“The call for implementation, echoed in every speech and indeed specified in Paragraphs 96 to 120 of the draft outcome document, is one of the defining features of this document.

“We must not, by our inaction allow SIDS to be seen as a brotherhood of the distressed, the disadvantaged and the deprived.

“If we do not actively shape the future, it will impose itself on us, in ways that are fundamentally at variance with our collective interests,” he warned.

In this regard, we call on the United Nations Secretary General to develop an effective approach for monitoriing the process of UN agencies and programmes in addressing SIDS issues meaningfully,” Stuart said.

The theme of conference is The Development of Small Island Developing States Through Genuine and Durable Partnerships.

In further pressing the case of SIDS, the Prime Minister noted with concern that after over two decades of reference to SIDS, no specific programme had yet been established in the Global Environment Fund (GEF) to focus on these countries.

“Barbados believes that such a special window should be established by the GEF to address  SIDS concerns.

“Today, I urge the CEO and chairman and the GEF itself to consider the modalities for establishing such a mechanism,” he said.

Stuart also acknowledged efforts by both the United Nations Development Fund and the World Bank to establish SIDS specific funds, but called for these financial resources to be accessible to all SIDS.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the need for greater cooperation among SIDS, while stating that Barbados stands ready to serve as a hub for inter and intra regional SIDS cooperation and collaboration.

He also saw the need for SIDS to have a seat at the table on all of these issues. “I therefore call on all my fellow SIDS leaders to work together to implement the SIDS collectivity in the interest of our collective relevance and survival,” Stuart said.


4 Responses to Act now!

  1. Prince Nick
    Prince Nick September 3, 2014 at 6:48 am

    He should take his own advice and act now

  2. Rickie Nurse September 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Mr. Prime Minister, you will now be judged by us on your speech, in relation to you and your administration’s governance of us.

    1) Your speech was boldly captioned ACT NOW, less talk and more action was your cry. How come that the revibration of your cry to the GEF is so synonymous to that of us here in Barbados in relation to your stewardship? Don’t you think that in itself is a major demerit on you and your administration?

    2) Quote: ” Man cannot live by acronyms and catch phrases alone.”
    In our bajan parlance, all we have been getting from this adminstration is a lotta long talk that aint no help. Your chief exponants of this is your Honourable Minister of Finance and your Minister of Commerce and Internation Business.

    3) You were quoted calling on SIDS to be proactive in shaping the future SIDS members, otherwise it will impose itself in way that will be at variance with SIDS collective interest.
    This same beckoning of your is a replication of the peoples cry to your adminstrastion measures imposed on us, that have stymied growth and developement in our economy, how ironic is that.

    4) You were also quoted calling for a new approach to assist middle income countries such as Barbados which have graduated from access to concessional measures.
    At our present economic state, sadly to say, we have not graduated and should not be proported as having graduated.

    What I will say though speaking from a localised view is, many that are classified as being middle income, aren’t middle income. The rich and the mega rich are huddling and hiding under the umbrella of being middle income to avoid detection and be granted concessions that should really be for those classified as lower than middle income, i.e the abject poor and those who somehow are still trying to claw their way out of poverty.
    Sandals Hotels and the many locally owned small hotels that were force to cease operations, need I remind you of any more?

    Court is now in cession and the jury is in deliberation of the verdict.

  3. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce September 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Less talk and Act Now from whom?

  4. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce September 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Why don’t Heknows get to the point and admit Barbados is broken and he needs help. We can’t pay back the outstanding debts. Nothing wrong in telling the truth.


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