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 every girl.

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 poverty.

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:

  1. 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 objectives.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Fifth, we should work towards the development of a society that respects honesty, and our democratic institutions.
  6. 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.

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