Media Center



June 7, 2011 - San Salvador. El Salvador


On behalf of the Barbados delegation I express our sincere thanks to the Government and people of El Salvador for your kind hospitality as you welcome us to your beautiful and historic city of San Salvador.

Mr. President, Barbados fully accepts that citizen security provides a foundation for peaceful and prosperous societies. This is made possible where effective democratic institutions exist. Moreover it has become evident that security is vital to a country's development efforts. Indeed Barbados subscribes to the view that there is a definite link between security and development and has fully embraced the concept of multidimensional security as a tool for development.

Nexus between Development and Security

Multidimensional security, for some time at the margins of discussions at the OAS, took centre stage at the 32nd Regular Session of the General Assembly which was held in Barbados. It was with some difficulty that the general membership came to consider this topic and ascribe it a greater level of attention. On this occasion the Prime Minister of Barbados articulated our view on security and its relationship to the development agenda. That perspective of security remains relevant today.

This Session in Barbados gave impetus to the convening of the Special Meeting on Security in October 2003 in Mexico City, Mexico, within the framework of the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security. The existence of multiple hemispheric security threats was recognized. These threats include terrorism, transnational organised crime, the global drug problem, corruption, asset laundering, illicit trafficking in weapons, and the connections among them. The meeting also focused on natural and manmade disasters, HIV / AIDS and other diseases, other health risks, and environmental degradation; trafficking in persons; attacks to cyber security; and the potential for damage of an accident that might occur during the maritime transport of potentially hazardous materials, including petroleum and radioactive materials and toxic waste.

The meeting also highlighted the impact of extreme poverty and social exclusion of broad sectors of the population, which were said to affectstability and democracy. Extreme poverty can erode social cohesion and undermine the security of states. It was noted that the security architecture in our Hemisphere should be flexible and provide for the particular circumstances of each sub-region and each state.

Mr. President, I have focused on the above, to emphasise the absolute importance of the adoption of a multidimensional approach if citizen security is to be addressed in all its facets. With this enlarged perspective on security, the OAS commenced negotiations on a Draft Social Charter, an important initiative, given the weight attached to the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Today, nearly a decade after the 32nd General Assembly, the OAS continues to assign the majority of its funds (Regular and Special) to traditional security and overtly political areas. The focus on traditional security has however come at the expense of other high priority issues for Barbados: projects for education, social care and other areas integral to development are marginalised. This is against a background of declining OAS funding over the past 30 years.

Current trends including the rising cost of food and fuel, along with rising unemployment strengthen the case for the adoption of a multidimensional approach to security .

However, it appears that the challenge of coups (Honduras), border disputes (Nicaragua/Costa Rica) and the negative impact of ruthless, well financed illegal gangs (particularly in Mexico and Central America), will make it very difficult for the aspects of multidimensional security of most relevance to Barbados to be seen or heard at this year's General Assembly.

Security Concerns of Small Island States

You may recall Mr. President that the 2002 General Assembly recognized that the peculiar characteristics of small island states render them especially vulnerable and susceptible to risks and threats of a multidimensional and trans-national nature, involving political, economic, social, health, environmental, and geographic factors. Moreover these threats assume greater significance in the security agenda of small island states because of the size of these states, their openness, and their limited capacity to manage these threats.

There is need for a more effective management mechanism to assist small island states to cope with such multidimensional and trans-national threats to their security in a coordinated and co-operative manner.

Caribbean Sea Commission

The protection of our maritime environment is critical to our survival. Our continuing commitment to the work of the Caribbean Sea Commission demonstrates our recognition that the sustainable use and development of the Wider Caribbean Sea is critical to the security and well-being of the peoples of the Caribbean. Barbados has thus played a leading role in the work of the ACS, particularly with respect to the Caribbean Sea Commission.

Mr. President, the Government of Barbados is very pleased that Member States have fully supported Barbados' initiative to engage the OAS in the work of the Caribbean Sea Commission, which was established by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in 2006. This has been demonstrated by adoption of the resolution introduced by Barbados entitled "Support for the Work of the Caribbean Sea Commission". The resolution therefore recogmzes both the umque biodiversity and highly fragile ecosystems of the Caribbean Sea, as well as the heavy reliance placed by most Caribbean economies on coastal areas and the marine environment to achieve their sustainable development goals.

Women's Issues

Mr. President, there can be no citizen security without an equitable gender balance. The binding principles of equality and non-discrimination are core principles enshrined in the Inter-American human rights system and its instruments, and particularly in the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women ("Convention of Belem do Pani). This Convention asserts that the elimination of violence against women is essential for the individual and social development of women and for their full and equal participation in society.

The Declaration of San Salvador on Citizen Security in the Americas, to be adopted at this Assembly, makes specific reference to these rights of women. Indeed there must also be condemnation of violence in all forms: against children, male on male violence and female on male violence.

Barbados is also strengthening its capacity to address the phenomenon of trafficking in persons, which affects women and girls especially. In February 2011 Barbados passed the Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act which provides for the investigation, prosecution and punishment of this heinous crime against women in particular. We have a adopted a multi-proned programme of capacity building and institutional strengthening of our law enforcement and immigration agencies.

Barbados salutes the work of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), and its commitment to eliminate barriers to full and equal participation by women in the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural spheres. The election of Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner of Barbados, as Vice President of the Commission at the Thirty-fifth Assembly of Delegates in Mexico City in November 2010, was welcomed by us in Barbados. Since her election she has been participating actively in the CIM meetings and representing the Commission at meetings in the Caribbean.

The Social Partnership and Multidimensional Security

Mr. President the ability of Barbados to weather the many storms, economic and other over the past two decades has been due to the innovative use of the Social Partnership mechanism to secure citizen security.

In response to the economic crisis in the early 1990S, the first Protocol of the Social Partnership Agreement was signed by three entities; the Government, the Private Sector and the Trade Union movement in 1993.

The Barbados model is unique and the standards approached within this Agreement were different from other countries. We signed the Sixth Protocol on May 2, 2011. Employers in the Government and Private sectors are committed to maintaining high levels of employment even in the face of reduced levels of Government revenues and profitability in the Private Sector. Trade Unions too play their part by controlling outcries for wages increases and ensuring that employees' rights are upheld until the crisis has passed. It is through this sacrificial effort by all stakeholders that Barbadians credit the social partnership for pulling the country out of the depths of economic despair and into a vibrant, thriving economy. As a result, Barbados is seen as pioneer within the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the developing world at large.


Mr. President, I would like to place on record the appreciation and support of the Government of Barbados for the sterling work carried out in Haiti by the OAS-CARICOM Joint Election Observation Mission (JEOM) under the able leadership of Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary General of CARl COM.

Barbados welcomed the swearmg m on May 15th of the duly elected President of Haiti, H. E. Mr. Michel Martelly, and we offer him the full support of the Barbados Government and that of CARl COM. Barbados and CARl COM stand ready to assist Haiti specifically in the area of institutional development by making available experienced personnel in areas of government administration, through the prOVISIOn of training opportunities, and assisting in the establishing of regional standards for building codes, and for goods and professional services.

Finally, Barbados welcomes back Honduras to the family of the OAS.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen I thank you.