July 3, 2012
SVG has no problem interfacing with USAID, says PM Gonsalves

The position taken by some member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), concerning the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is not shared by St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

At a meeting held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 21 this year, members of ALBA made a resolution to immediately expel the American agency and its delegates or representatives from their countries.

According to a press statement released by ALBA, this action was taken because of what was considered ‘their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty of our nations.’

The statement was said to have been signed by the governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Dominica subsequently issued a separate statement, saying that their signature to the document was a mistake.

During a press conference yesterday at Cabinet Room, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves pointed out that St Vincent and the Grenadines had not been represented at the meeting and did not share a similar view to the signatories to the document.

“We have no problem in St Vincent and the Grenadines of interfacing with USAID…. In fact, one of the things is that we don’t get anywhere nearly as much from USAID as I would like us to get.”

The American agency, which was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, is responsible for administering foreign aid around the world.

It operates in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Eurasia, the Near East, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, providing technical and financial assistance in disaster relief, poverty relief, socio-economic development, technical cooperation on global issues, among other areas.

Dr Gonsalves said that the decision may have arisen from difficulties ALBA member states had with USAID, which had caused them to address the subject.

“That decision would bind those countries who took part in that decision, but talking for St Vincent and the Grenadines, that doesn’t have anything to do with me,” the Prime Minister said.

In the statement, the agency was accused of openly interfering in the politics of ALBA countries, under the excuse of ‘planning and administering economic and humanitarian assistance, financing non-governmental organizations, and actions and projects designed to destabilize the legitimate governments which do not share their common interests.’

The statement further stated that ‘knowing the evidence brought to light by the declassified documents of the North American State Department in which the financing of organizations and political parties in opposition to ALBA countries is made evident, in a clear and shameless interference in the internal political processes of each nation.

‘Given that this intervention of a foreign country in the internal politics of a country is contrary to the internal legislation of each nation,’ it said.

On the online information site, St Vincent and the Grenadines, along with Antigua and Barbuda and Dominca, are said to have expelled USAID.(JJ)