Local news, News

Opening Remarks by the Chair of the RSS Council of Ministers Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew

Published 25 March 2024

Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source

Transcribed Remarks by the Chair of the RSS Council of Ministers
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew
At the Opening of the Regional Security Systems Council of Ministers Meeting
Georgetown, Guyana
March 22, 2024

Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew presenting at the RSS Council of Ministers Meeting in Georgetown, Guyana 

It is indeed a privilege for me to be here and Saint Kitts and Nevis is poised to take the Chairmanship of the RSS, a very vital organ here in the region. Let me recognize the Minister of Home Affairs, the Honourable Ben, MP for Guyana, and the Outgoing Chair. I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his stewardship and his leadership as Chairman of this august body. As you know Minister Ben possibly was the first Minister from this Republic who would have been the Chairman of the RSS, because as we know, Guyana, until very recently, was not a member and saw it fit to become a member for the very right reasons, and so, we continue to welcome Guyana. Guyana offers a great deal of experience, and it offers its expert inputs and other resources that have redounded, and thus far will continue to redound t the benefit and strengthening of the RSS.
So put your hands together once again for Guyana.
I want to also take this opportunity to recognize the executive Director, Commodore Sherlon, who has been leading very, very competently through all the challenges that we have had in the region. And so, I want to especially recognize him as well, and to all who are here representing the membership of the RSS, the Head of delegations.
I want to also recognize all the security experts, and personnel who are here with their various organizations or countries that are part of the system. I want to also recognize all of the delegates and even those who are members of the band here with us this morning. Thank you for, of course, the beautiful songs that you play.
At this time, I also want to recognize our international partners. The representatives that would have spoken just before me, Ms. Nicole Theriot, Ambassador of the United States of America to Guyana; Mr. Rene van Ness from the European Union; Ms. Jane Miller, British High Commissioner to Guyana; and Mr. Mark Berman, Commissioner for Canada in Guyana.
I speak at this time because, as you know, the President of the great Republic of Guyana is not here, as has been explained by the Minister, that he has a number of critical matters that he is dealing with at this particular time, and the matters that he is dealing with are well known to us. He takes the responsibility of leading this organization as the Head of CARICOM, indirectly of course. He takes it very, very seriously, and so, in his absence, I will make a few remarks because I am also asked to come at the end where I’ll make a few remarks with respect to my incoming Chairmanship of the RSS.
The RSS as a regional security system has been critical and beyond critical, vital, to the security of the region; and I use the word vital because as was mentioned before, without security almost nothing else is possible, as was said by one of our partners when they spoke. One of the things European investors ask when coming to Guyana, is this a safe place? And by extension, I am sure, that they ask for any of our member states, the question will also be asked, is that state a safe state to invest in?
The RSS represents an approach telling us that it is important for us to unite and to stand together because none of us by ourselves can really meet the task of providing security for each of our member states. It says that we must work together, and the theme for this year’s meeting really says it all, ‘Strength through Unity’, and it is a rallying call to all of us that we must band together to protect our region.
Guyana came to Chairmanship under some trying circumstances, difficult circumstances, I might add. It came to the Chairmanship having to deal with the issue of security in Haiti. It came to Chairmanship having to deal with its own issue of its border dispute with its neighbour, Venezuela. It came to Chairmanship, as we are seeing now an increase in transnational organized crime. It came to Chairmanship as we are seeing an increase in small arms proliferation in our region and gang violence associated with it. It came at a time when we have seen an increase apparently, and I will rely on the numbers from the RSS, of human trafficking. In other words, it came to chairmanship when we were dealing with a plethora of significant security matters, and that is why I say it was a bold step and a courageous step by Guyana to take on the Chairmanship so early in its official membership to the RSS. That cannot be overstated at all.
As we continue to work in the region for security, and we work to maintain this region as a zone of peace, I want to say that the CARICOM region has employed diplomacy and dialogue to resolve significant border disputes in its effort to prevent conflict or war.  
I want to continue to stress that the CARICOM will continue to use this as our most significant strategy and tactic to maintain our region as a region of peace, and with that, I want to thank CARICOM for its leadership with respect to bringing Venezuela and Guyana together in dealing with a significant security matter. And therefore, CARICOM’s importance can never be overstated. I want to also say that we are dealing with the matter of Haiti, and for us to understand that when we speak of security here, a destabilized Haiti can never result in a stabilized region. I will state it the other way, an unstable Haiti will result in an unstable region.
For the mere fact that Haiti’s population, I think, is more than all the other member states put together. That includes those even the bigger countries, such as Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica with all of the other member states. Haiti is almost twice, in terms of its population size, compared to the rest of the member states, which means that if that country becomes unstable, it starts to affect in an even greater proportion, our region, our region therefore, can become unstable. And so, I want to impress upon us the importance of a resolution to the matter in Haiti.
As I wrap up, I want to say that the RSS must continue to be supported. Its importance cannot be overstated. We are to continue to have a zone of peace, as none of us can do it alone, we need to always band together, and our strength is really through our unity.
May this meeting be successful. Thank you very much.
Prime Minister Drew’s Remarks can be viewed at 1:22:15 https://www.facebook.com/100066912742380/videos/950618146472119

You Might Also Like