Investment Never Looked Better

22 Sep 2017

Friday September 22nd, 2017 - Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Allen Chastanet, addressed the general debate at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72).

In a bold speech to the general debate, the Prime Minister stated, “for Small Island States like my own in the Caribbean region, the promise of the United Nations is being tested today more than ever.”

The Prime Minister who is also the chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), focused first on the current devastation facing the Caribbean and the long road ahead to rebuild for some islands, even as the hurricane season continues.

“I have listened in dismay to the silence of many and the weak acknowledgment by others, on the crisis in our region. It has awakened in me the fear that we may be on our own to chart a path forward for our region,” Mr Chastanet said.

For the prime minister, the doubters of climate change need only look at the fact that in less than a month “Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Cuba, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, the Dominican Republic, St. Barts, St. John, St. Thomas, the Turks and Caicos, St Maarten, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida, have all been victim to the ravages of hurricanes that have left death and carnage in their wake. The impact has been without discrimination.”

Speaking further on the issue of climate change, Prime Minister Chastanet noted, “Let us acknowledge the fact that Small Island Developing States have repeatedly warned the international community that the failure to adequately respond to climate change would betray our children and condemn future generations to certain doom.”

 He remarked that silence was no longer an option. “The future is now and the challenges are profound. What is fast becoming the ‘new normal’ is the intensification of extreme weather events, which demands from us real solutions in real time.  No longer can we depend on old mechanisms with dense bureaucracies that delay or limit a nation’s ability to safeguard its citizens during a crisis and slow the rebuilding effort.”

Prime Minister Chastanet said that he has watched with a heavy heart and seen first-hand during his visits to the hurricane-ravaged territories the destruction of the series of hurricanes.

“Saint Lucia, along with most of our sister CARICOM member states are anchored at the heart of hurricane alley, with our people on the front line, and too often are the first to endure the ravages of mother nature’s fury when the storms come off the Atlantic Ocean. Today, as we look to the world for leadership and partnership, we thank France, China and Germany for their continued leadership on climate change issues.”

Even as he laid out those facts for the United Nations and called for more attention to be paid to the region, the prime minister noted that the Government of Saint Lucia will do whatever it can for those in need.

“The ties that bind our people run deep; the pain of one is the pain of all. We ask that the global community follow this ethos – never forget that we are once global ecosystem that demands that we all be our brother’s keeper.”

Quoting Saint Lucia’s Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Walcott, Prime Minister Chastanet spoke to the sense of responsibility to one’s neighbour that “is rooted in our cultural DNA.”

“Not out of a sense of duty but out of a sense of community; even in our destitution we in the Caribbean open our hearts and means to those in need.”

The Prime Minister would go on to call for all multilateral discussions on development, on resilience and the sustainable development of our countries be equitable and just.