Prime Minister Mia Mottley has blamed discriminatory rules in accessing concessionary oil prices for additional costs that Barbados now has to bear.
Mottley, who was among regional and world leaders who addressed the general debate of the 78th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on Friday, said there must be transparency and moral strategic leadership, “if we are to build the team to save the planet and to save and to attain the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] in today’s world”.
“It cannot be that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that needs a mechanism for stabilisation in an energy crisis cannot have access to the concessionary prices that the government and people of Venezuela are prepared to make available to its neighbours, to minimise the suffering,” she asserted.
“How is it possible for Chevron and the European Union to access the oil and gas of Venezuela, but the people of the Caribbean cannot access it at the 35 per cent discount offered by the people of Venezuela?
“How is it possible that we should have to carry a cost of an additional four per cent of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] in my own country, simply because the rules that allow for one, do not allow for the other?” the prime minister questioned.
Mottley made an impassioned plea to developed countries to act quickly to help save Barbados and other developing nations from further financial, social and environmental suffering which has been triggered by the climate crisis.
“We know how to run fast in one set of circumstances when it suits one set of people, but yet we run very slow when it matters to billions of people and their access to lives and livelihood,” the Barbadian leader argued.
She also acknowledged that while there has been some progress in tackling the climate crisis, there must be a recommitment to the task ahead.
Mottley also weighed in again on the issue of reparatory justice which she argued must not be treated like a charity by those who feel it was time for their consciences to be cleansed.
She noted that CARICOM countries had planned to write to the European Union on the issue of reparatory justice but paused because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, the prime minister said, “We have to lift our finger off the pause button to resume the discussions because the development deficit caused by centuries of exploitation is now affecting our capacity to build the resilience that is necessary in our nations.”
In her address, Prime Minister Mottley joined several other CARICOM leaders in urging the international community to move with haste to end the ongoing political and socio-economic situation in Haiti.
She was also critical of the United States maintaining a 60-year trade and economic embargo against Cuba. (EJ)