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The Bahamas calls for reform of UN Security Council

UNITED NATIONS, CMC – The Bahamas government has called for a reform of the Security Council of the United Nations saying it was necessary to deal with the changing global environment.

Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said that the reform of the Council “is long overdue” and called for a change “that would see a rotating seat for the small island developing states (SIDS)”.

Mitchell said that he saw a role for the Security Council in dealing with a wide range of issues from illegal migration to crime as a part of a multifaceted and collaborative global response.

“It bears repeating that these threats and challenges must be addressed primarily at the multilateral level by bodies which are inclusive, representative and transparent,” Mitchell said as he addressed the UN Security Council on the topic ‘Peace and Security Challenges of Small Island Developing States’.

He said his country has reiterated in many fora that for it there are no higher priorities than the environment, fighting crime, and containing illegal immigration.

“These matters for The Bahamas go to the very root of our existence. All of the efforts go to the root of peace and security,” he said, noting that climate change represents the most serious global environmental and development challenge, with far reaching security implications.

“As a country particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, The Bahamas believes that the security implications of climate change must be primarily addressed at the multilateral level by bodies which are inclusive, representative and transparent.

“We underscore that if urgent and ambitious actions are taken to comprehensively address climate change in this context, this will reduce the security implications associated with climate change including the existential threat faced by some SIDS, including those of us in the Caribbean.”

Mitchell said that Nassau “is entirely convinced that the international community must attach the highest priority to completing ongoing climate change negotiations within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on a new legally binding agreement that results in the achievement of substantial emission reductions in the shortest time frame”.

He said he accord should also result in significantly increases the level of resources available to vulnerable developing countries, including SIDS, to assist them to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.

“What is important is that access to these resources must for all SIDS and low lying coastal developing states be at the concessional rates and not made available based on the determinant of GDP per capita.”

Mitchell told  the UN Security Council that the Bahamas has been grappling with serious crimes related, in large measure, to the inability of young males to settle disputes without regard to violence, and the resultant proliferation of gang activity and illicit drugs, small arms and light weapons, and ammunition trafficking.

“The Bahamas was, therefore, actively involved in the negotiations leading to the successful adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and considered its adoption a landmark accomplishment of the UN.

“The government believes the entry into force of the ATT will contribute to peace and security in The Bahamas, and in this connection, we deposited the Instrument of Ratification of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the Arms Trade Treaty on 25th September, 2014.”

He said the Bahamas continues to fight the illegal drug trade, to fight trafficking in persons, and investing in social intervention programmes, in order to fight crime.

Mitchell said that the Perry Christie government had also taken hard decisions regarding the illegal migration into the country and that “new policies are now in place and there will be stricter adherence to these measures to stop it.

“Last year, The Bahamas entered into important agreements with our immediate neighbours – Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti – to come to terms with vexing situations that impact our good relations. These include accords on fishing and on migration. We mean to bring illegal migration under control.”

Mitchell used the opportunity to inform the global community about the problems facing the multi-billion dollar Baha Mar tourism resort project saying “the Bahamas faces now a threat which is existential to good governance”.

He said Nassau has come to the realisation that a single investor can if not properly managed seek to destabilize the governance of a country by its dominance of the economy and by deliberately and improperly interfering in the local politics of the country.

“Add to that the efforts by various multilateral bodies and some member states to undermine the economies of many CARICOM states by imposing mandates on the financial services sectors now an essential part of our economies. These imposed mandates are inimical to fair trade.

“While these multilateral bodies and member states may see their zeal on tax collection as a moral triumph on their part, the resultant destruction which moving the goal posts and changing the rules without consultation causes, is not a moral triumph but a moral negative.

“If the economies of our countries collapse, leading to the departure of the citizens from home, the migration which it will cause can only be destabilising around the world. That is a threat to peace and security.” Mitchell added

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