Monday 19 October, 2020

Mottley wants a positive reset on how all small island states are seen

Prime Minister Mia Mottley (FILE)

Prime Minister Mia Mottley (FILE)

Small states in the Caribbean region must have an equal voice and access to opportunities whether dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change or other global issues, according to Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

“I’ve found myself in a difficult position very often because much of what I say at the personal level is in fact now reflective for small states, because the same dichotomy with respect to rights and relationships and power exists not just at the individual level, but also at the level of states,” noted PM Mottley while speaking during Women Rise for All, a recent United Nations hosted virtual event.

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“And to that extent, I’ve found myself over the last two years trying to speak on behalf of small states, trying to recognize that as we navigate our way through this global community we cannot continue to have a set of states that are seen and heard, and others that are not,” PM Mottley emphasized.

“We begin to question the injustice of the relationship, the injustice of the organisations that deem one set superior and another inferior. And I use that language not in any contentious way but as part of our reality that we face every day,” the Barbados PM further added during the July 14 event.

PM Mottley drew a correlation between the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and individual black people seeking greater access to power, and that of individual countries that have come into being since the United Nations’ formation 75 years ago and the “establishment of an arrangement that was supposed to create opportunity and equality for all.

“But then you ask yourselves, how do you continue to have a set of countries determining that only those countries and only those proxies and only those definitions that matter to the larger countries are allowed to dominate?” the PM queried.

She cited, for example, the “lazy definition” of tying maternal child health and maternal mortality to the ability to access in vitro diagnostics to fight COVID or historic per capita income to sourcing funding today to help the vulnerable, and “naming and shaming” countries to varied lists and thereby impacting revenue flow and banking relationships.

“The bottomline...is that we have to move beyond the laziness of the moment, and we have to move beyond the things that allow us to literally...make assessments and judgments that preclude too many of our people,” PM Mottley stated.

Women Rise for All is a global advocacy initiative spearheaded by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General urging leaders in all countries, across all sectors, to address the human crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative also aims to support the UN’s call for an extraordinary scale-up of commitment to ‘build back better” and ensure that people everywhere have access to essential services and social protection.

“We too in the Caribbean want the world to rise with women and we do so conscious that this is a moment…for resetting,” said PM Mottley. “You know, all issues are women’s issues. And the ability for us to be able to face whatever circumstances meet us on a daily basis is essentially the greatest virtue of women.”

PM Mottley noted that the convergence of the COVID pandemic and the climate change issue have “created this unique opportunity for us to take our people and lift them to the next level.”

She stated that the “ability to care” was the most important asset for any young person traversing society, coupled with commitment and a level consciousness to understand the connection between the past, and present circumstances.

“I pray today that we will find the commitment to recognize that it is that moral leadership, it is that ability to care, it is that ability to listen, it is that ability to speak truth to power without rancor that is going to make the fundamental difference of whether we can move the world, and our countries, and our families, and our communities, from here to the next level,” said PM Mottley.

“And if we can do that then we rise, and sometimes the best way of rising is claiming ground, pausing and breathing, and then moving again and claiming ground. And that’s what we in the Caribbean have had to master because we don’t come with all of the resources of others, but we come with the commitment, the creativity, the consciousness and above all else the capacity to care,” she further added. 

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