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UNITED NATIONS | Grenada implores international community to aid Caribbean islands ravaged by recent hurricanes

Featured Minister for Foreign Affairs and Legal Affairs of Grenada, Elvin Nimrod, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly's seventy-second session. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Legal Affairs of Grenada, Elvin Nimrod, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly's seventy-second session.
UNITED NATIONS, Sep. 25, CMC – Stating that Grenadians’ hearts and prayers go out to all the victims in the Caribbean region, Mexico and other countries suffering adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters, Grenada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod implored the international community to “recognize, without delay,” its responsibility to assist all those affected by natural disasters.

“Certainly, based on recent activities in the Atlantic, we just cannot dispute that the climate is changing,” said Nimrod on Saturday in addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate.

Elvin Nimrod

“In fact, 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. For those that question the veracity of this science, the cluster of ‘extreme’ weather events over the last few weeks ought to suffice in sounding the alarm.

“Extreme weather events disproportionately affect our planet’s most vulnerable,” he added. “Grenada, therefore, advocates for special attention to be paid to our women, children, elderly and disabled.

“As we assess the physical damage caused by these disasters, let us never overlook the psychological toll on survivors,” Nimrod continued, reiterating Grenada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.

Speaking in his capacity as chair of the World Bank’s Small States Forum in June of this year, Nimord noted that Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, lamented the withdrawal of key partners from this agreement.

“We do not know these partners to be unreasonable and, therefore, we encourage them to see their own self-interest within the framework of a successful Paris Agreement,” he said, adding that the Government of Grenada has adopted an ambitious “Blue Growth” agenda to take advantage of its vast maritime territory and its countless resources.

He said Grenada aims to be “the beacon of sustainable development for maritime states around the world.

“Our relatively small size makes this an interesting and achievable project,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said. “Our blue growth master plan offers many opportunities for collaboration.”

He noted that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has emphasized the need to advance measures to develop sustainable ocean-based economies in the Caribbean, stating that recent endeavors aim to use the region’s maritime waters in a “sustainable manner governed by robust policies in our people’s interest.”

Alluding to the many variables that influence the sustainability of the planet, Nimrod said small states, like Grenada and other CARICOM countries, have to battle with threats to thier access to financial markets.

He noted that, in March of this year, the IMF published a report, titled “Recent trends in correspondent banking relationships” (CBRs) that highlights some of the challenges facing financial institutions and governments of small states.

Observing that the number of CBRs has decreased, Nimrod said the IMF anticipates a negative effect on global trade and economic activity.

In the specific case of Grenada and the rest of CARICOM, the Grenada Foreign Affairs Minister said the disruption of international payments and capital inflows, as well as the high cost of compliance with the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)-driven international tax agenda, were all underscored at the Ninth General Meeting between the Caribbean Community and the UN System in July.

Added to the threat of lost correspondent banking relationships, Nimrod said the Caribbean has to deal with “the unilateral and often unfounded blacklisting of our institutions as money launderers and our countries as tax havens.”

He said Grenada has worked tirelessly to sign tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) and has signed 14 countries such agreements since 2010; the agreement with Canada in July of this year being the most recent.

Within CARICOM, Nimrod said Grenada’s proactive international duty is not the exception.

“There are no easy answers to these challenges, but I urge our partners to desist from draconian approaches to these matters when dealing with vulnerable developing nations,” he said. “Let us please favor reasonable and respectful dialogue before we de-risk and blacklist.”

In a similar vein, Nimrod said Grenada supports UN General Assembly Resolution 70/5, which calls for an end to the economic, commercial, and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.

“We also believe that renewed dialogue may augur well for the discovery of a mutually acceptable way forward for both parties,” he said.

In addition, Nimrod said he was “proud to report” that Grenada’s structural adjustment program has been “widely successful.”

In May, the IMF reported that “Grenada has continued with steadfast implementation of reforms and made progress toward achieving the key program goals.”

“Through the leadership and wisdom of our Prime Minister and the sacrifices that the Grenadian people have made, Grenada’s economy and institutions are today on solid footing,” Nimrod declared. “Grenada’s thriving economy today is proof that the words ‘structural adjustment’ are not inherently bad.”

He said investment, both foreign and local, is at the highest levels in recent years.

“We are cautious to declare victory,” Nimrod said. “However, we are confident that we are headed in the right direction.”

  • Countries: Grenada