Trinidad and Tobago’s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, who chaired the 16th meeting of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Affairs (COFCOR) told a news conference that the meeting felt “there is need to have more diplomatic dialogue with international financial institutions” su7ch as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in keeping with efforts by regional governments for a change in their lending policies.
‘We will continue with that challenge ahead of us,” said Dookeran, flanked by CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque.
He said the region is also looking towards embracing other small island developing states (SIDS) “with some new strategic partnerships so that we can improve the strength of the voice of the small economies of the world.
“We deliberated on the diplomatic requirements to do so over the next few years or months as the case may be,” Dookeran said.
“We are saying shocks in the Caribbean and in small economies…are something we have addressed over our entire economic history and therefore it must not be viewed as a short term phenomenon. How you mitigate against these shocks and how you balance your policies to deal with it requires a different view as to the policy instruments that they have been putting forward.”
He said an example of the new policies by these financial institutions and other developed countries is what is termed “graduation” that the European Union has been “suggesting they would now like introduce in the name of differentiation.
“We are saying that the definition of development makes it difficult to accept that we must now move into differentiation and reduced flows to the region and we are in dialogue with them and in two weeks time there will be a meeting in the Dominican Republic on this issue with the European Union and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) grouping.
“So at these groupings we are making our voices clear. They have shown some area of response but it is a changing world and we recognise it and we must come specific proposals which we have done,” he added.
Dookeran said that the Caribbean would also seek to have changes made to the United Nations Security Council to take into consideration the views and positions of developing countries.
“Clearly that’s an issue that is very troubling. It has been on the agenda for far too long and no political impetus is being taken to change it.
“We have made recently, and before, strong support for the change of the Security Council operations both in terms of its membership and in terms of its effectiveness.”
Dookeran said with regards to its membership, the Caribbean has made it clear the issue should be “placed on the agenda squarely and frontally at the next Assembly, (and) we have in fact begun to talk with some major countries in the world in order to make sure we have the necessary political clout to make a start.
“In that change process we have argued that small states should have a political presence in the Security Council. We are not saying in what ways it should be done at this stage and we are saying that the continent of Africa should definitely be part of that process.
“There are other proposals that have been put forward and we would assess the effectiveness of those proposals as they emerge. But we have made our position very clear and we will continue to do so and we are now mobilising some large countries to work with us to make sure the process get started,” Dookeran said.
He told reporters that regarding effectiveness, Caribbean is of the view that the change in the composition of the Security Council will be reflection “of the return to political and moral legitimacy of the body and therefore there is need to establish that so that its views cannot be ignored.
“Within recent times many emissaries of the United Nations secretary general have not been able to achieve the results that they would expect. So we recognise that it is global politics at stake (and) what we can do as a small part of the world is to support those who call for genuine change in the composition of the Security Council…so that its effectiveness can be returned.”
But Dookeran warned that “solutions will not come only from the multilateral operations and therefore we do recognise there is need to have the larger countries in the world, especially those that sit on the Security Council to have an open mind in ensuring that solutions …will require their support”.