“We have argued that small states should have a political presence in the Security Council,” Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran said on Wednesday night.
“We have made the call for the change in the Security Council operations both in terms of its membership and in terms of its effectiveness. We have made it clear that the issue of restructuring the membership should be put squarely on the agenda of the next Assembly and we have begun to talk with some major countries in the world in order to ensure we have the necessary political clout to make (the discussion) start,” he said.
The continent of Africa should be part of that process, he added.
Dookeran was speaking at a news conference at the end of the 16th Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Community Relations at the Hilton Trinidad. Dookeran said the change in the composition would reflect a return to “political and moral legitimacy” of that body.
“We are mobilizing large countries to work with us to make sure that the process gets started,” he said.
Asked about the lack of a Caricom presence and influence on international bodies, Dookeran said there was a question of Caribbean nationals making themselves eligible for top positions and other positions in international bodies.
He said sessions have been organized to explain to Caribbean professionals the process by which they can make themselves eligible for work on these bodies.
“On the issue of (the lack of) Caribbean personalities on international organizations, we are conscious of it…and we have devised a process by which we can improve that presence,” he said.
He said it was decided in the meeting that professionals should be encouraged to apply for positions in such organizations by bringing to their attention the often complex processes involved in the applications. It also agreed to make Caribbean candidates available for the top positions as they (the positions) emerge.
It was also agreed during the meeting that Caricom countries would “make the political statement as necessary in the councils of those bodies that we need to have a higher presence of our nationals on these bodies,” Dookeran said.
He said Trinidad and Tobago indicated to the meeting that it proposed to establish a diplomatic academy.
He said the Trinidad and Tobago government was hoping to begin the process in September with a conference.
Asked about issue of Caribbean Airlines and LIAT, Dookeran said while the meeting did not address the issue of tensions within the region over CAL and LIAT, they agreed that transport logistics was an inhibitor to the process of economic integration.
He said to that end, the meeting accepted the suggestion that was made at the Association of Caribbean States’ meeting in Panama where the government of Colombia agreed “to join with us in arranging a meeting of the airlines operating in the region to see how we can rationalize the connectivity within the region. In that sense there is a diplomatic initiative to address the problem,” he said.
On the issue of Venezuela’s political stability, Dookeran said the meeting acknowledged that there would be some settling down time for Venezuela in this post-Chavez period.
But the meeting recognized that there was a great relationship between Venezuela and the Caribbean in many areas, particularly energy, he said.
“We acknowledge the role that Petrocaribe has played in the past, but we did not see that as an energy policy. We recognized that we would have to go beyond that in order to develop a strong energy policy with the relevant ministries of energy,” he said.
He said from a diplomatic perspective, the Caricom ministries would seek to facilitate discussion on Caribbean energy policy among Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico and other countries.
Asked if Caricom would seek to foster democracy in Venezuela, Dookeran said Caricom would continue to pursue good neighborly relations, but would not want to get involved in the internal dynamics of Venezuelan politics.