PM speaks on financing, island vulnerability at UN
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
by GIS

Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet has lamented the lack of financial and other support for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) saying that global policies, programmes and strategies remain “unfairly unaccommodating” to the “very real and true challenges” facing SIDS.

The Saint Lucian Leader made the point as he addressed the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sep. 28.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and middle-income countries according to the prime minister, are some of the terms used to reference Saint Lucia. These terms have an even deeper meaning, which speaks to some of the challenges currently confronting the country, he said.

At the UN Assembly, Prime Minister Chastanet indicated that the SIDS are more vulnerable to natural hazards than other countries.

“The world acknowledges our acronyms but little or nothing else changes,” he said. “Saint Lucia remains economically vulnerable to de-risking and the loss of corresponding banking relations remain out of the reach of any access to concessionary finance. Our reputations are unfairly tarnished by tax labels. We continue to struggle under the weight of international frameworks that do not provide an enabling environment for my country to chart an effective, sustainable development path and even to be able to take control of our own destiny.

Despite the fact that the odds remain stacked against us, Saint Lucia must still persist. I have an obligation to the people of my country and so I must find new and innovative ways regardless of how difficult, to keep my country growing and to ensure and enhance the environment of social protections.”

The prime minister also made mention of Tropical Storm Kirk. He pledged the government’s support despite the farming challenges that arose due to the storm.

“Our resilience as a people and our ability to pick ourselves up should never be used against us. I applaud Japan, India, and several states within the United States of America that have the capacity to effectively respond to natural disasters. I envy that they have the necessary fiscal and policy space to enable them to recover and rebuild affectively. But we as SIDS are continuously denied this ability. We’re aware that Dominica, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico among others are still recovering one year later. Yet little has changed. The CARICOM UN High Level pledging conference to support reconstruction in the region following Irma and Maria received pledges of over 1.3 billion, but there remains a significant gap between the pledges made and the actual amounts that have been disbursed. While well intended, we’ve been let down once again.”

Prime Minister Chastanet assured that Saint Lucia will continue to rally for the cause of Small Island Developing States and middle income countries.