PM Douglas to CELAC Summit: St. Kitts and Nevis aware of its role and responsibilities

(left to right): St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister The Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, St. Lucia’s new Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Kenny Anthony and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves at the CELAC Summit in Caracas, Venezuela.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 3RD 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis continues to play a significant role in the integration of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and views the regional integration process as the principal response to the myriad challenges of globalization as well as a means for articulating common positions in addressing a diverse and complex international agenda that evolves constantly. “Our continued support of and advocacy on behalf of Cuba and other countries in this sub region is well documented. We therefore present ourselves as credible partners, resolute and ready to take our rightful place as we advance the work of this new organisation, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC),” St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister The Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas told over 20 Latin American and Caribbean Heads of State and Governments at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit in Caracas, Venezuela.Prime Minister Douglas said notwithstanding St. Kitts and Nevis’ status as the smallest Independent Nation in the Western Hemisphere, it is acutely aware of its role and responsibilities and have always punched way above its size.”Our proactive and consistent participation in all aspects of the CARICOM’s integration process, in addition to pursuit of several initiatives with Cuba in the areas of education, healthcare and agriculture as well as with Venezuela in energy and housing have brought tremendous benefits to the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas, as he expressed profound gratitude of his Government and people to the Government and people of Mexico for their continued sterling contributions in the area of security, an aspect which is extremely important for the stabilization of countries. “It is also worthy to mention that we are in the process of concluding a Partial Scope Agreement with our sister Republics of Guyana and Brazil. When initiated, The Partial Scope Agreement will represent another tangible demonstration of my country’s efforts to cooperate in the area of trade; which ultimately will benefit the populace of our respective countries,” said Dr. Douglas, whose delegation included Chief Secretary, Mr. Joseph Edmeade and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elvis Newton.”St. Kitts and Nevis embraces this new entity in full acknowledgement that the aspirations of Kittitians and Nevisians residing in Basseterre, Charlestown are no different to those living in Castries, Kingston, Paramaribo, Havana, Montevideo, Lima, and/or Caracas,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that St. Kitts and Nevis takes seriously, the commitments to be signed in the Declaration of Caracas.”Our view is that the principles enshrined therein-solidarity, economic and social integration, development, efforts to protect and preserve our environment and mother earth against the ravages of climate change, a commitment to respect the democratic values of the region, the rule of law and human rights as well as adherence to the non interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States- all resonate with my delegation and are in fact consistent with the tenets which continue to guide my Government’s, and indeed our CARICOM sub region’s strident march to solidifying our Caribbean identity and civilization,” said Prime Minister Douglas who is also the current Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). He noted with satisfaction that the 19 Special Communiqués adopted by the Senior Officials’ meeting during the past few days are also consistent with the values of CARICOM on Sustainable Development which speaks to the vulnerabilities as Small Island Developing States especially vulnerable to national disasters and socio-economic challenges. Dr. Douglas pointed to the temptation in the past for organisations to ignore small states like those in the OECS, a sub-group of Caricom, but expressed confidence CELAC will not be one such organisation.”I also refer to other Communiqués such as those relating to the rejection of terrorism in all forms, support for eliminating the trade in small arms, declaration of our region as a nuclear free zone, promotion of the use of renewable sources of energy as well as food security,” said Dr. Douglas.”Whilst I am confident that success is within our reach, I am nonetheless not blinded that our best efforts are often times derailed because of our tendencies to adopt inflexible positions, based on national interests. Such coupled with insularities and our penchant to duplicate efforts and a reluctance to maximize the channels of communication to resolve, reconcile differences have the potential to impede progress,” said Dr. Douglas.He said CELAC should take advantage of this historic occasion to continue being catalysts of change. “Let us work to create history so that we will be assessed to have paved the way for current and future generations to live in a region where peace, economic prosperity and social justice are not merely utopian ideals but instead translated, into concrete manifestations of the efforts which we resolve through this Declaration of Caracas to pursue,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

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