INTERVENTION PLANNED FOR A MEETING
SUMMIT IMPLEMENTATION GROUP
HELD ON FRIDAY, FEB. 16, 2001
Thank you Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Chairman, I believe that you will have no
difficulty in agreeing with my delegation that this chapter,
Creating Prosperity, will generate the keenest interest among our
political leaders when they gather in Quebec City in April, 2001.
This will be so, Mr. Chairman, because it is the chapter that seeks
to address the break and butter issues of the Hemisphere - the
issues that are common to every man, every woman, every boy and
Mr. Chairman, tangible signs of wealth and
poverty coexist in tenuous and often tension filled communities
across the length and breadth of the Hemisphere, spanning every
country from east to west and north to south. Whether it is the
poorest or the richest country, it is not very difficult to spot the
misery inflicting those whose cups are empty, and the affluence
beaming on the faces of those whose plates are full to the
overflowing. Mr. Chairman, the lifestyles of the rich and famous and
the squalor of poor citizens in both rural and urban regions,
provide a marked contrast between those who have, and those who may
never be able to have. What is more, Sir, the Gap between the rich
and the poor is forever widening. While some have the means to
create wealth and live prosperously, a greater number without
support and without the means, remain in a position of abject
The truth is we live in a world of inequality and
growing diversity. The challenge we face, and one which the
forthcoming Summit must give due attention to, is the widening gap
in wealth that separates both rich and poor. It is this gulf, Mr.
Chairman, that has now become the single most pressing problem and
danger facing this new millennium, and of course this Hemisphere.
David S. Landes in his book entitled, The Wealth and Poverty of
Nations, believes that it is in the interests of rich as well as
poor people to see this gap narrowed. He expressed the view,
however, that progress toward that goal requires us first to
recognize that the causes of this division are neither merely
contemporary nor even recent, but historic and very longstanding. He
said that to alleviate today's disparities we must first understand
that they have their roots deeply embedded in the past 600 years or
so of world history.
But without discussing all the historical
evidences and circumstances that explained the growing disparities,
Mr. Chairman, the Antigua and Barbuda delegation believes that
earnest steps should be taken that will address the problem. There
ought to be, in our opinion, an existing framework, or a structure,
that serves as the basis for creating prosperity among all the
peoples in the Americas. To this end, Mr. Chairman, the following
will be key to developing such a structure:
- First, as citizens of this hemisphere, bounded by the Atlantic
Ocean on the east, and the Pacific Ocean on the west, we must
develop a sense of hemispheric cohesion. There should be a
greater sense of togetherness, and we should of necessity focus
on and work towards the achievement of common goals and
- Second, we should develop or even cultivate the capacity or
driving force to compete. This is particularly important in the
era of globalization, that has not only revolutionized the
production of goods and services but has also given effect to
the movement of people across borders and from region to region
in a rapidly globalized market-oriented economy.
- Third, Mr. Chairman, there must be a respect for, and a
concern to impart, empirical and technical knowledge, and we
must demonstrate a preference for advancement by merit or
competence. With respect to the former, we should develop and
educational based plan that is designed to provide training and
develop the requisite skills.
- Fourth, we must develop a society that has the ability not
just to acquire, but to use money in a way that creates
increased wealth and expands opportunities for the greater good.
- Fifth, we should work towards the development of a society
that respects honesty, and our democratic institutions.
- And sixth, our institutions should be so oriented that they
provide security both for property and enjoyment of the rewards
of labor or enterprise.
Mr. Chairman, we believe that the aforementioned
is an essential roadmap that charts the course towards creating
greater prosperity among the peoples of the Hemisphere. The Antigua
and Barbuda delegation is strongly of the view that careful
consideration should be given to taking them on board, as we
continue our debate on this very important chapter for the Third
Summit of the Americas.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.