Call made by PM Douglas for Sixth Summit leaders to ‘move beyond mere rhetoric’

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 16TH 2012(CUOPM) – A call by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L.Douglas for the Latin American and Caribbean states attending the Sixth Summit of the Americas to move beyond mere rhetoric, and to confront, as one, the crucial issues that face the hemisphere.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, Belize’s Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, Bahamas’ Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Brent Symonette, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Winston Baldwin Spencer, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Bolivia’s President EvoMorales, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper (back row, L-R), Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica, Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Dominican Republic’s President Leonel Fernandez, Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, (2nd row from back, L-R) Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Haiti’s Foreign Minister Laurent Lamothe, Honduras’ President Porfirio Lobo, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli, (2nd row from front, L-R) Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar, El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, U.S. President Barack Obama, Guatemala’s President Otto Perez and Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Joseph Thomas (front row, L-R) pose for a group photo at the Americas Summit in Cartagena April 15

“Most importantly it calls upon us to summon new energies and resources to improve the lives of our peoples. This, in essence, is how we can best connect the Americas – in a spirit of partnership, in our shared quest for prosperity. This is why we are here. And so, whatever our disparate national interests, this is the fundamental point on which we must focus at this Summit,” said Prime Minister Douglas in a statement.

He said that if real impetus is to be given to the theme of the Summit, it is imperative that the region, both seek and demonstrate greater cohesion.

“For it is only through this singularity of purpose that our hemisphere will be able to maximize – and indeed, optimize – resources, through the sharing of best practices in education…healthcare…poverty alleviation…increased trade…socio-cultural interaction…the promotion and fostering of peace. Indeed, greater cooperation and collaboration is essential, if we are to dramatically reduce – and hopefully halt – the wastage of resources that results when individual concepts are formulated, not in relation to the hemispheric whole, but in a vacuum,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister.

Dr. Douglas, in calling on the Heads of State and Government, to move beyond the talk and symbolism of ‘connecting the Americas,’ said hard work that is required.

“Hundreds of millions living throughout our hemisphere deserve and await the connections across both technologies and space that our efforts can produce, and this we must deliver. As states and civil society, Mr. Chair, as national and regional agencies, as public and private sectors, and as youth and social actors, we must be partners all in our people’s quest for true and lasting prosperity. And effective cooperation will have to be a key element of any hemispheric thrust to achieve this objective,” said the Prime Minister.

He told Latin American and Caribbean leaders that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis intends to play a pivotal role in “connecting the Americas” and driving, along with neighbours, the momentum towards greater interaction amongst the peoples at all levels.

“In this regard, accessing and using information technologies will continue to be a crucial part of the overall formula, since this opens channels for a first level of exchange, affords possibilities for the dissemination of ideas, and facilitates both training and education, as well as the delivery of healthcare, among other benefits,” said the Prime Minister Douglas, who pointed out that the innovative use of ICTs to achieve national and hemispheric goals is energetically endorsed by St. Kitts and Nevis, where broadband access is now universal and students have been sensitized to the value of computer literacy through the recently implemented ‘student lap-top programme.’

“With their newly acquired skills, the new and exciting hemisphere – and world – are now at their fingertips, just waiting to be explored, and improved,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said St. Kitts and Nevis values the opportunity to underscore the commitment to this hemisphere and to confront, with its neighbours, the issues that all face as a region.

“Our citizens hold their collective breath when we meet as Heads and decision makers, expectant and optimistic that Summits such as this will be a catalyst for direct, impactful and positive change – not in the abstract, but in their individual lives. We owe it to our citizens to ensure that the decisions arrived at these Summits be translated into action, and that such action be timely,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who hoped that the deliberations on all the issues however intense, “ought ultimately to provide a space for all component states of this hemisphere to be heard – reflecting the full spectrum of our hemisphere’s concerns, our shared commitment to addressing them, and our collective goals. This region deserves no less.”

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