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Friday, April 25, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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PM bids to host secretariat for Arms Trade Treaty
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has made a formal bid for T&T to host the next secretariat for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Persad-Bissessar made the announcement yesterday, moments after her return from the recently concluded Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) meeting in Cuba. She said there were several reasons why T&T should host the secretariat.
“Our geographic location has made us very vulnerable to the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons. We do not manufacture guns or ammunition, we do not manufacture cocaine and other hard drugs, yet we are a transshipment point and, of course, the guns are creating havoc and great sadness in our own country here,” she said. “All the major institutions of the UN should not be located in the same geographic locations, but we should have something here in the Celac and T&T.”
Persad-Bissessar said the discussions also turned to control of the drug trade within the region. “As we all know, this is a major challenge that we all in the Caribbean and Latin American states encountered. We found it necessary to refine policies that deal with this,” she said. She said those policies deal with not just control, but treatment and rehabilitation of users.
Persad-Bissessar made the announcement amidst an almost full complement of Cabinet ministers, moments after landing at the Piarco International Airport yesterday. Persad-Bissessar has agreed to include T&T in the “zone of peace” as determined by the Declaration of Havana signed at the meeting. She said: “This agreement seeks to ensure conflicts which may arise are managed in a peaceful, civilised manner without encroaching on the sovereignty of the member states.”
She said the tenets of the treaty dealt with those issues. The PM said the group of leaders met to discuss “significant” issues affecting the region, including solutions to the current problems facing islands in the region. “The Declaration of Havana highlights the importance of the region as a space that facilitates dialogue while fostering regional cooperation,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said the Declaration also emphasised the “urgency of working together” to develop the well-being of the Caribbean population. “This year we engaged in discussions surrounding central issues such as poverty, illiteracy and inequality,” she said.
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