June 7, 2019
Our Bid for a Seat on the United Nations Security Council

Today, Friday, June 7, 2019, is D-Day as far as the ambitious bid by our country to become one of the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations is concerned. The General Assembly of this august body will vote to accept or reject the bid by countries of four regional groupings – Africa (two seats), Asia/Pacific, Latin America & the Caribbean Group (GRULAC) and the Eastern European Group for five places on the Council.

That a tiny, resource-limited country like St Vincent and the Grenadines could not only put in a bid, but win the support of the GRULAC group, comprised of some 33 regional states including such giants as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile, is itself a remarkable accomplishment, irrespective of the outcome.

Following the bid, SVG has been maximizing the tremendous potential of its diplomatic missions, particularly our UN representation to wage a campaign for election based on our exemplary record at the international level and without exceeding our means. A summary of the campaign material, published on page 18, sets out the basis of our bid.

It will be a tremendous accomplishment should our country succeed in getting the endorsement of the General Assembly, a testimony to our growing stature in international affairs and our developing maturity even as a young and small state. In this 21st century alone, St Vincent and the Grenadines has made its mark, at the Caribbean level, in wider hemispheric affairs, and globally, and the fact that we stand on the verge on international acceptance into the UN Security Council is the biggest attestation to this.

In spite of this, there are those among us who seem incapable of rising above petty politics or being able “to separate the wheat from the tares”, to use the Biblical parable. The bid to become a member of the Security Council is a bid by the state of St Vincent and the Grenadines on behalf of all its people. It is not a bid by Ralph Gonsalves, though we must of course give his administration credit for spearheading it. Should we succeed today, it will be SVG in the seat, not the Gonsalves administration for if elections were to be held next week and a new administration emerges, SVG will still be on the Security Council.

Yet, on the eve of the General Assembly vote, a group of misguided and disgruntled citizens took the reprehensible step of sending a letter to the permanent Missions to the UN, the permanent members of the Security Council, GRULAC, CARICOM, the OECS and the Africa Group protesting our country’s bid. The basis of their objection, all kinds of rehashed allegations having absolutely nothing to do with the UN, the Security Council or international affairs, itself speaks volumes about the mindset and character of those who conceived of the idea. It is the most unpatriotic act that one can imagine coming from citizens of this proud country.

Worse, the framers of this petition reveal that they do not even know what they are about. Let us quote from one of the concluding paragraphs:

“Our call for not supporting…particularly the 5 permanent members to reject any bid submitted by Dr Gonsalves on behalf of SVG to become a permanent member of The Council…”

Is it that they do not understand that this is not about any Dr Gonsalves, this is SVG aspiring to be on the highest international stage, not as a “permanent member” as ignorantly stated.

Those who were coaxed into affixing their signatures to this nefarious letter should be ashamed. It is nothing but a betrayal of our country, a slimy attempt to use petty politics to smear our country’s name at the time of maximum exposure. We roundly condemn the effort and call on those who continue to give succour and shelter to such persons, the opposition NDP in particular, to strongly disassociate themselves from this disgraceful initiative.

Let us all pray for success in SVG’s bid and regardless of the outcome be prepared to keep our country on the highest plane.