Above: St Vincent and the Grenadines PM Dr Ralph Gonsalves (UN Photo/Ryan Brown)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The UN needs to apologize for its role in bringing cholera to Haiti in 2010, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told the UN General Assembly on Friday.
Gonsalves said there was “no longer any scientific dispute” that the UN was responsible for the outbreak, which has killed more than 8,000 people in Haiti and infected more than 600,000.
“I continue to be deeply disturbed by the UN’s callous disregard of the suffering it has wrought in a fellow CARICOM country, and by the shameful, legalistic avoidance of what is a clear moral responsibility on the part of the UN,” he said. “I call on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to acknowledge unambiguously, and apologize for, this organization’s role in the tragedy, and to take immediate steps to compensate the victims and their families.”
Anything less, he said, “will further undermine the moral authority and credibility of this institution.”
In a wide-ranging speech, Gonsalves called out what he saw as the international community’s “endless, rudderless and seemingly vacuous negotiations on climate change.”
“Our failure to achieve meaningful progress on this matter of existential urgency is inexcusable,” he said. “Vulnerable countries like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are on the front lines of climate change and are already bearing the brunt of the increasing fallout from global warming.”
Gonsalves additionally address the Millennium Development Goals, blaming the world’s “collective failure to achieve” the MDGs for “developed countries’ abject abandonment” of Goal 8, which aims to “Develop a Global Partnership for Development.”