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Thank you Mr. Chairman, Heads of Delegation,
Allow me Mr. Chairman to first express my delegation’s great pleasure at being present here and to express also our appreciation to the Government and people of the United States of America and in particular, the people of this great state of Florida, for their gracious hospitality and the excellent arrangements in place for this assembly.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is supportive about the theme "Delivering the benefits of Democracy". Our long experience in the democratic way of life persuades us to the view that our citizens confidence in democracy is strengthened when it delivers on its promise of a better quality of life. Such a quality of life encompasses gainful employment and decent work, good health and quality education. There must be consistent and successful efforts by the state to address crime, poverty, injustice, social exclusion and terrorism...

The demands from our people are for better and for more. Better security, more jobs, better education, more citizens participation in government, better health care, and more transparency in public affairs, better and fairer terms of trade and safer and more secure communities. These are attainable if we live the ideals contained in the relevant instruments in our arsenal, and buttress the values we hold dear. The tools that we have at our disposal to ensure a collective and integrated approach to delivering on the benefits of democracy are as varied as they are far reaching yet rooted in the foundation of democratic values. With the OAS charter as our base we can build on common principles that would inevitably satisfy the demands of our people.

We all ascribe to the view that the Inter-American Democratic Charter is a living document. We all laud it as a seminal instrument in strengthening and consolidating democracy and adherence to democratic principles. We must practice with vigor the precepts contained in the Charter and with courage accept and surmount the challenge and difficulties to ensure that the peoples of tile Americas fully enjoy the essentials of representative democracy and all the attendant benefits that would follow. This would necessitate strengthening of our democratic institutions, and employing the mechanisms included in the Inter-American, Democratic Charter. In that regard, and bearing in mind the principles of non-intervention, as Governments we must endeavor to act with dispatch whenever confronted with threats that might undermine our democracy.

Mr. Chairman, our fiscal policies must be void of the stigma of corruption. We declared at the Extraordinary Summit of the Americas in the Declaration of Nuevo Leon "corruption and impunity weaken public and private institutions, erode social values, undermine the rule of law and distort economies and the allocation of resources for development". These are all barriers to the delivery of true democracy for the peoples in our hemisphere. In recognition of that commitment and our political will to combat corruption, the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis ratified the Convention Against Corruption in 2004 and has begun to review procedures regarding the follow-up mechanism. We believe that the consolidation and strengthening of democracy would be incomplete without upholding the preventive measures contained in the Convention and the requisite pledge from public officials to fulfill their duties free from the stain or taint or even perception of corruption.

Mr. Chairman, we must recognize also that in spite of our best efforts, global forces can also conspire to weaken our ability to advance and develop. Trade liberalization has not always generated the expected growth within our economies. Unfair trade practices and protectionist attitudes and policies that do not take into account the vulnerabilities and peculiar circumstances of small and lesser developed countries, make it almost impossible for Governments to deliver on their promises.

Saint Kitts and Nevis urges the favorable consideration of tile recommendations from the High-Level meeting on Poverty, Equity, and Social Inclusion, and the commitment to develop an Inter-American Social Charter. The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis is pleased to note that the work on this document will commence this year and is prepared to actively participate in the Working Group to elaborate the document and pursue its early ratification. Our Hemisphere is still mired in the morass of deep poverty, a breeding ground for deviant and anti-social behavior. The new impetus in our Organization to the social agenda will reap benefits for our citizens.

We are acutely aware that in our Hemisphere millions of citizens do not stand as equals for reason of race, color; and ethnicity. We are aware too that intolerance and discrimination are still rampant in many of our countries. The elimination of these ills would foster, encourage and deliver true democracy. In this regard, we welcome the initiative to establish a Working Group for the propose of Drafting an Inter-American Convention Against Racism and All Fom1s of Discrimination and Intolerance. Certainly we will benefit from the participation of, and contribution by all of the member states in the hemisphere. We are convinced that democracy cannot truly flourish until and unless all of the citizens of the Hemisphere enjoy the full spectrum of the rights that are given to those of privilege. We must work collectively to overcome those barriers: that stifle opportunities and assiduously work to eradicate scourges that breed hate and dissention. Let us fulfill the dream of equality of opportunity. Only then will we be able to celebrate our achievements as one people while acknowledging the rich diversity woven into the tapestry that makes this hemisphere unique.

In conclusion, we must search deep within ourselves individually as governments and collectively as an organization to bring forth policies and programs that can address all the ills with which we are confronted. If we are all of one mind in this endeavor to deliver true democracy to our peoples, with honest interaction among each other and singular purpose we will succeed.

I thank you.