St Vincent Gov't says it's closer to securing UN Security seat

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — The St Vincent and the Grenadines Government says it is one step closer to securing a non-permanent seat on the Security Council of the United Nations.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Louis Straker, said Kingstown remains optimistic of its chances of being elected to serve for the 2020-2021 term.

“We are on the verge — we are not there yet — of sitting in the council, one of the premier councils of the United Nations, which is the Security Council,” he told the one-week biennial consultations for heads of missions and consulates that began here Monday.

Sir Louis said that when the idea of a Security Council bid was first broached a decade ago, “we thought it was an ideal, a dream to work towards, but there was some doubt in our mind as to whether we would really realise that…

“We are on the verge of sitting with the mightiest — economically and militarily — countries in the world,” he said, noting however that the island will become the smallest nation to sit on the Security Council.

“… If you are seized with the gravity of the situation that we are going to sit on the Security Council, the smallest country that would ever be sitting on the Security Council, then you realise that St Vincent has come a long way,” he said, praising the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

“Our prime minister is highly regarded and highly respected in Caricom (Caribbean Community), in the OAS (Organization of American States), in Africa, in Asia, wherever the name of St Vincent and the Grenadines is mentioned. And I am very, very happy and proud to work with him and to see our country reach this far [to] being a member of the Security Council.”

He said he does not think that anyone at the event would be alive to ever see such a feat attained again.

“Because some countries have been waiting for 20 years — countries with millions of people and cannot get a second chance or another chance to sit on the Security Council.

“But because our prime minister is so highly regarded in the GRULAC Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries group that would select a member from its midst, they are able to take a back seat and allow St Vincent and the Grenadines to go forward in being the candidate — Caricom and GRULAC — and I trust that we would go right through and by this time next year, we would have been voted as a member of the Security Council…”

Prime Minister Gonsalves told the ceremony that he had been advised by the island's ambassador to the United Nations, Rhonda King, that “there is almost complete unanimity that St Vincent and the Grenadines, in June next year, will be the candidate to represent the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries on the Security Council for the year 2020-2021”.

Gonsalves expressed thanks to GRULAC for the support and said Kingstown would still have to face the General Assembly where it will have to get a two-third majority of the world's capitals.

“But we are confident, given the support which we have been receiving from countries all over the world, assurances of support — written — that it is likely, as it stands presently, that St Vincent and the Grenadines would triumph in those elections.”

But he cautioned against being too over-optimistic of gaining the seat.

“It is not over until it's over but we are there and I want to thank the countries,” Gonsalves said, adding that Brazil has stated publicly that the South American country is supporting and campaigning for the island.

He said there are others who have not stated it publicly in that manner.

“Many have said it privately to me,” he said.

“We have no money to take people on cruises. We do not have the resources to splurge on this or that campaign. But we have ideas and we have principled positions and people have observed us, and particularly since we have put our name forward a decade ago and began this campaign; that they are satisfied that St Vincent and the Grenadines has what it takes to sit as a non-permanent member on the Security Council,” he said.

Last month Japan, which wants to become a permanent member of the Security Council, hinted that it would support the island's bid.

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