Tiny countries with big ideas can still be heard – Gonsalves
PARTICIPANTS IN THE United Nations Security Council retreat held recently in St Vincent pose with Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves (front, third from right) and SVG’s Permanent Representative to the UN Rhonda King.
January 31, 2020

Tiny countries with big ideas can still be heard – Gonsalves

ST VINCENT AND THE Grenadines (SVG) being on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is a bit of an anomaly.

“It’s a bit revolutionary because countries typically have to be big or strong or rich to get onto the council,” Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves told persons at a function at the Prime Minister’s residence on Friday January 17.

The Finance Minister was speaking to international delegates who gathered for a UNSC retreat, of the Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG).

The retreat was hosted by SVG and Kuwait and is part of this country’s first contribution to the UNCS.

The IWG was established in June 1993 to improve the process by which the Security Council addresses issues concerning its documentation and other procedural questions. The Working Group meets as agreed by members of the Security Council, and makes recommendations, proposals and suggestions concerning the Council’s documentation and other procedural questions.

Gonsalves said a place for SVG on the UNSC shows that we are advancing and the Dominican Republic also on the UNSC, shows that is not the size of your treasury or military, but the strength and size of your ideas and the contribution that you can make to global peace and security.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a country in a tiny space populated by the descendants of slaves and the slave masters, populated by the descendants of the colonizers and the indigenous, populated by Africans and Asians and Europeans and Amerindians, yet in the midst of a vibrant democracy we have solved and solved spectacularly some of the ethnic, religious and cultural tensions that beset other countries and those tensions that have caused numerable crises around the world that are on the desk of the Security Council regularly,” said the Finance Minister.

He added that SVG believes the solution to every problem is not

to throw more money at it or more guns, but to explore relationships between peoples, between tribes, between groups and to explore the nature in which development or underdevelopment contributes to some of the tensions being faced that masquerade under other names.

“We hope that we will have an opportunity to bring that perspective to bear during our tenure on the Security Counci, and we hope that with our stewardship of this working method group we will be able to ensure that those tiny countries with big ideas can still be heard and respected and honored even if they have not gone through the decade long process of becoming a member of the Security Council,” said the minister.

G onsalves added that SVG’s contribution to the IWG is important work, not only as a member of the UNSC but as a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS). He added also that SVG is thrilled to be on the UNSC after a 10-year process.

“We are proud to be members of the council for the first time, and, I know that our brothers and sisters in both Estonia and the Dominican Republic are also first time members of the council and we welcome them as both bothers and friends on the Council and we are extremely proud to be the smallest country ever elected,” Gonsalves stated.