2022 was the year of Barbados. But, 2023 could be the year of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). After a long hassle, SVG has finally got the CELAC Presidency. Yes, after a really long haul, SVG has got the remote control of the alliance in its hand. And this could mean that SVG’s anti-US rhetoric could solidify. But, more than that, CELAC is SVG’s chance to shine in the Caribbean Island chain.
Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, assumed the pro tempore presidency for 2023-2024. On this occasion, Gonsalves expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and pride in his country being the first president of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
All about CELAC
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), was established in 2011, is a regional organisation that brings together all the countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region to promote regional integration and cooperation. It aims to strengthen the political and economic ties between its member states, increase their collective bargaining power on the global stage, and address common challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.
CELAC operates through a rotating presidency, with a different member country assuming the presidency each year. SVG wanted the presidency for a long haul. Also, this is the first time since the creation of this integration mechanism in 2011 that a Caribbean island nation has assumed this role. But, how can it use CELAC for betterment of the Caribbean.
Let’s decode that one by one
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The golden opportunity
Reducing the foreign dependence: In order to advance on urgent issues like the improvement of social conditions in the region, as well as the defence and strengthening of democracy, it is necessary to reach the necessary consensus with other member states.
SVG has been known for taking anti-US actions in recent times. PM Ralph Gonsalves, has condemned the US for spreading misinformation against the Cuban government of president Miguel Diaz-Canel. He had also stressed that once he gains the Presidency of CELAC, he will pressurize the US to take strict action on gun-trafficking responsible for gang hiatus in the Caribbean.
Protecting the environmental jewel: Another main agenda item of SVG in CELAC must be environmental protection and resource sovereignty. This is no hidden fact that Caribbean islands are hidden gems rich in both flora and fauna
SVG must prevent attempts to involve the region in any kind of war-mongering or meddling strategy, in addition to upholding its declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
Decolonize entirely: After the demise of Queen Elizabeth II, the winds of decolonization have gusted among the commonwealth. SVG can take up the issue of reparations just like Barbados. It should leave the commonwealth for good.
Protect Haiti: SVG must also ensure that CELAC takes some righteous actions to protect and uncage Haiti from the clutches of Gangs. SVG must ensure the self-determination of the Haitian people, currently under attack by foreign intervention and Henry’s illegal government.
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If SVG utilises CELAC for all these aforementioned agendas above, that would be more than enough to make the Caribbean rise. The nation should make sure to not let this opportunity slip away.
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