Environment

Address climate change to prevent total annihilation of economies, Caricom urged

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) — Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states have been urged to tackle climate change with courage and realism to prevent total annihilation of their economies.

The plea was made by Jamaican Parliamentarian Lisa Hanna as she addressed patrons at the 18th annual New Year's Gala hosted by former Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas.

According to Hanna, climate change “is real and potentially destructive and a destructive issue for all who call the Caribbean home”.

“Climate change has serious implications for small island developing states in Caricom and must be tackled with courage and realism. All of us could face a total annihilation of our economies if we do not tackle this fight,” she said.

She referred to the extensive work that former Prime Minister Douglas and his St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration did to protect the coastlines in St Kitts and Nevis when she chaired UNESCO.

“The resolutions that were moved at the UNSECO by the ambassador for St Kitts and Nevis on climate change on small island developing states looking at climate change, we supported it and we must not stop supporting these kinds of issues,” Hanna said.

“It says he who feels it knows it and rain does not fall on one man's house. Jamaica felt the back-to-back recent category five hurricanes and this is now a reality for this region,” she said.

The Jamaican politician also recalled Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit's emotional pronouncements last year at the UN General Assembly.

“It should serve as a chilling reminder to urgently brace for the 2018 hurricane season. Not because it did not hit Jamaica, we felt ravaged by what we saw in terms of the eastern Caribbean. When it hits one, it hits all of us,” said Hanna.

“In this fight we must not only survive but we must prevail; there is no other option. We cannot afford to get wiped out,” she said.

Hanna said the Caribbean has to speak with one voice “if we are going to be globally relevant as countries and as a region”.

“We must have the courage and speak with one voice to bend the reluctance of many of the lending international agencies that will not give us the lower interest concessionary rates to borrow money, especially in the aftermath of a hurricane,” she said.

“It cannot be that in this century, people looking at the quality of life only look at the GDP per capita of a country to determine whether or not you must lower interest rates to help our people. It is wrong, and Caricom has to stand up as one voice and say that it is wrong,” she said.

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