Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Lester Bird, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, said debt was "strangling" efforts of countries in his region to breathe life into their economies. If a meaningful dialogue between the rich and poor nations did not begin soon, a stand-off in relations could "paralyze economic cooperation and progress on a global scale". In establishing the Association of Caribbean States on 24 July 1994 in Cartagena, Colombia, a major benefit would be "the promotion of the interests of our grouping in international forums". While Antigua and Barbuda had agreed to provide a safe haven for Haitian refugees and to contribute part of its military force to the multinational operation authorized by Security Council resolution 940 (1994), it was "still troubled by the increasing resort to Chapter VII of the Charter as a basis for acting to end conflicts".
President Carlos Saul Menem urged delegates not to lose sight of the fact that "we cannot aspire to a world at peace if we fail to establish a just international society". While there were encouraging signs in South Africa and the Middle East, "not all is brightness", with the shadows of the Balkan tragedy lingering and Rwanda demanding attention. Problems on the international agenda had to be solved by strengthening the UN, and Argentina's participation in nine peace-keeping operations bore out this conviction. Combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was an indisputable pillar of international peace and security. Argentina had ratified the Treaty of Tlatelolco, was considering accession to the NPT, and firmly supported a comprehensive test-ban treaty. Concerned at the persistence of the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Argentina deplored further recourse by the United Kingdom to unilateral measures.
Orville Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the Bahamas' education, health and welfare resources had been "stretched beyond capacity" by providing "safe harbour" to Haitian and Cuban refugees in the absence of international assistance. It appreciated the UN's recognition of the need for the world community to "forcibly respond to the brutality of the military dictatorship" in Haiti and had agreed to lend manpower support to the multinational force there. It was also encouraged by the efforts of the United States and Cuba to address the issue of Cuban migrants. Considering the criterion for per capita gross national product as misleading, he called for a comprehensive review of the system for determining eligibility for development assistance, which would include consideration of the "vulnerability index" identified in the Barbados Programme of Action.
Billie Miller, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business, said the new Government was determined to "overcome the obstacle of size and to harness our natural and strategic assets to convert Barbados into a full-service economy" and create a business-friendly environment for local and foreign investment. Although democracy in the country was "ingrained in the culture and habits of its people", sadly, what they took for granted, others close by in the hemisphere still struggled to achieve. Barbados would participate in the international operation in Haiti. That country's "rendezvous with democracy has now begun in earnest", but the ballot box was only the beginning of the process. She urged sustained implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for small island developing states.
Dean Barrow, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Economic Development and Attorney General, lamented that there was "still rampant lawlessness abroad on our planet, and we continue to be traumatized by the death and destruction it brings". In this climate, even small countries must do what they could to ease the pain. …