Media Center



June 5, 2006 - Santo Domingo, República Dominicana

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Chairman, St Kitts and Nevis brings to this General assembly a deepened resolve to embrace the global information and knowledge culture and, in this context, a commitment to continue our pursuit of good governance and sustainable development so that our people could share the prosperity which is promised by this new dispensation.

My delegation is therefore pleased with this integrated and very relevant theme of the 36th General Assembly of the OAS and we congratulate the Government of the Dominican Republic for its thoughtfulness and well as for its warm Caribbean hospitality.

The proliferation and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) present opportunities and challenges to us all; not just to large countries and developed countries but also to developing islands and small states. These technologies have both constructive and potentially destructive characteristics and modern governance is faced with incredible challenges to manage the development of these technologies and their application, to maximize the opportunities they present and to minimize the threats posed to our societies.

In 1997 the United Nations Committee for Science and Technology for Development in its publication entitled The Knowledge Societies and Sustainable Development encouraged governments all over the world to take ownership of ICT strategic development and initiate national ICT strategy activities to ensure a proactive stand towards meeting the challenges of the ICT global revolution. St. Kitts and Nevis has heeded that call.

Mr Chairman in view of the universal applicability of these technologies, we in St. Kitts and Nevis have deemed it necessary and expedient to work in close collaboration with our other small.-island East Caribbean partners, to ensure a transparent, objective, competitive, and investor-friendly licensing and regulatory ICT regime in Our jurisdiction, while exploring the extent to which our size could afford us strategic opportunity. In this context, since 2001 we have liberalized and made other significant changes in the Caribbean telecommunications marketplace and we are continuing to promote and stimulate private sector ICT investment within a universal access policy framework.

However, we have come to know that small states could also be vulnerable to protectionist policies of more powerful and more resourceful players on both the hemispheric and on the global stage.

Mr. Chairman, we in St. Kitts and Nevis understands the pivotal role of education generally, and TCT proficiency particularly, in preparing our work force for this rapidly evolving dimension. Our policies reflect this understanding. And so, example for, in order to expand the learning environment, Government in partnership with the private sector has ensured that all primary and secondary schools have computers and access to the internet, and one of our objectives is to increase the percentage of internet users considerably in the short term. We appreciate that such diverse other elements as governance, policy orientation, capital access and infrastructure readiness must factor into the feasibility of this equation. We are ever open to ideas which could benefit our objectives as we embrace this cutting edge challenge which we realize will impact all aspects of our lives and our capacity to progress in the short, medium and long term.

Mr Chairman, the commitment of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to good governance and our reasoned approach to development cannot be gainsaid. Where these interface, our capacity to embrace and grow with these new technologies, create an exciting new realm of possibilities.

We are up to this challenge and have prepared for it. But where there is scope for collaboration and cooperation we encourage and welcome it. This organization, the OAS can do much to assist our advancement in this arena. We look forward to the further development of the e-government initiative of the OAS, to e-education initiatives of some friendly hemispheric partners and to any other technology and information drivers that would boost the tremendous possibilities of a knowledge economy.

Mr. Chairman what our hemisphere needs now more than ever is a. shared vision of each endeavouring and each prospering. We need to demonstrate by deeds our commitment to shared prosperity. We, successfully through the Inter-American Democratic Charter articulated a shared vision of a democratic Americas. We went beyond the Declaration of Lima to create instruments that allow the OAS to intervene in a timely manner to prevent upheaval of the constitutional order in the member states. The engagement of the OAS to intervene in Bolivia, Ecuador and Haiti, did much to restore political stability and enjoyment of democratic rights by their people.

As we have done on the issue of democracy so too we must do on the proposed Social Charter of the Americas. Perhaps more importantly the conclusions of the negotiations and adoption of the Social Charter should elucidate what our Americas should be and how we intend to achieve this ideal. We need that broad collective vision of an Americas of each endeavouring, each achieving and each prospering.

Saint Kitts and Nevis submits that when we give substance to a shared vision of a prosperous Americas providing opportunities for all peoples, then and only then will the policy incoherence, which to date has vitiated the development efforts of member states be less manifest and there will be greater solidarity in our dealing with each other within and outside the OAS.

We have seen how the absence of a shared collective vision enjoining us in solidarity for individual and collective security .led to the injurious engagements on the issue of bananas and sugar and consequently loss of jobs and increasing poverty and underdevelopment in rural Caribbean.
In the absence of a collective vision which enjoins us, we witness an absence of mechanisms for consultations that may resolve issues that have profound impact on solidarity among member states and on our efforts to foster a climate of prosperity.

It is a matter of concern that unhelpful policies within OAS membership obstruct our efforts to obtain WTO waivers for the US-CARICOM CBERA. CARICOM has no other special access to the United States market. It cannot be acceptable that our prosperity becomes collateral, as a matter of little consequence, as individual member states of the hemisphere pursue agendas, impervious to the collective vision of a prosperous Americas, enjoining us, each of us to achieve growth, prosperity and development.

It is in this context that Saint Kitts and Nevis wishes to remind member states that the full potential of the Americas is not being realized. Much more can be done. Much more must be done in search of a better quality of life for all people of the Americas. Working in solidarity we can take our people to the promise land. We must not abstain from this mission.

In this endeavour Mr. Chairman we arc limited only by our imagination, our willingness to embrace change and our capacity to cooperate. May we find it within ourselves to pool our talents and to work together for good governance and for the development of knowledge-based societies and economies.

May it please you Mr Chairman. I thank you.