Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Gonsalves hoping for collective CARICOM position on UN vote

Published:Wednesday | March 2, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Dr Ralph Gonsalves says he believes CARICOM countries will adopt a united position when they vote at the United Nations later this week on two resolutions relating to the unrest in Libya.

"We anticipate that two resolutions will come on Libya at the General Assembly of the United Nations and St Vincent and the Grenadines and CARICOM, I expect that ... we will carry one head, one position, which I expect to be a position consistent with the majority of the United Nations," said Gonsalves, the prime minister of St Vincent.

CARICOM leaders at their inter-sessional summit in Grenada last weekend issued a statement on the unrest in North Africa where the populations in Egypt and Tunisia have used street protests to force their governments out of office.

Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi is now in battle with his own citizenry, with reports that the country appears on the brink of civil war.

In their statement, the regional leaders called for "an immediate end to the violence" in the Middle East and North Africa, and that CARICOM "looks forward to a resolution of the situation through dialogue and actions which would allow the free exercise of the fundamental human rights by the people of that region".

Gonsalves also dismissed a statement by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace that the St Vincent Government had accepted what he termed "blood money" from Libya a few days ago.

Eustace said that Gaddafi had trampled upon the rights of his own people over the years and now as they seek to bring democratic change to the country "he is sending a few dollars to Ralph".

"He has had 42 years and he don't want to go. But he came to that position because in many ways people allowed him to come to that position, including some of our leaders here in the Caribbean," said Eustace.

But Gonsalves said that the US$250,000 had been sent to Kingstown long before the unrest and was Libya's contribution to the development of the island following the passage of Hurricane Tomas last October.

"If there were not the problems that you have in Libya a minister of government would have been there. You see a lot of people talk and don't quite grasp some of the subtleties in diplomacy. So when you have Arnhim Eustace saying that the US$250,000 is blood money, you know that is the talk of an infant, a political infant," said the prime minister.

The payment, he said, is "oil money which arrived late".