Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SVG drops bid for UN Security seat

Monday, 17 May 2010

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC –Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says St. Vincent and the Grenadines will no longer seek a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in October.

He said however that the Permanent Mission to the United Nations has been instructed to submit the necessary documentation to formally announce the island’s candidacy for the 2020-2021 term.
Gonsalves said that the decision to back down was also due to a lack of support from two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
He said that the island’s bid against Colombia for the UN seat “could only succeed if it enjoyed the unanimous endorsement” of all 14 CARICOM countries at the United Nations.

“Given the decision by those two states not to support a potential Vincentian bid for the 2011-2012 term, CARICOM was unable to unanimously endorse that candidature,” Gonsalves said.
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace announced late April that the government had been discussing with regional governments their support in order to win the seat.

Eustace said Gonsalves was a proxy for the Venezuela-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) in an attempt to undermine Colombia’s chances of being elected to the Security Council.

“I am satisfied that ALBA is the one … who pushed Prime Minister Gonsalves to tell his (Caribbean Community) colleagues that St. Vincent is going to contest for the seat in the United Nations … because they don’t like Columbia and Colombia is the country that is named,” Eustace said.

However, Gonsalves said his administration did not intend to disrespect citizens by not announcing its plans, saying, “You have to lay the basis for diplomacy in private.”

The statement issued on Friday said a number of countries had approached St. Vincent and the Grenadines “to consider offering its voice and perspective to the deliberations of the United Nations Security Council” and as a result it had been “actively investigating the feasibility of announcing its candidature”.
In a brief prepared for the regional governments in April, the government emphasised that “the need for a strong and unambiguous endorsement by CARICOM is essential.”

The government discussed the possible candidacy with selected OECS heads of government in Antigua and Barbuda on April 9 and at the CARICOM-Brazil summit on April 26. It was further discussed at a CARICOM’s Council for Community and Foreign Relations (COFCOR) meeting in Dominica on May 6.

“However, for varying reasons…two CARICOM states indicated that they did not view a 2011-2012 candidature as compatible with their individual national interests. As a result, these two CARICOM states declined at this time to endorse the potential Vincentian candidature,” Gonsalves said.

“In light of CARICOM’s failure to unanimously endorse the candidacy, the Government of [SVG] decided not to announce a bid for the 2011-2012 term… (but) instead decided to make its historic bid for the term beginning in 2020.”

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the smallest country, by population, ever to announce its candidature for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Within CARICOM, only Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have ever held a seat on the Security Council.