Ratification Of The Arms Trade Treaty3124 27 Jun, 2013
RATIFICATION OF THE ARMS TRADE TREATY
Mr. Nagamootoo: I rise on behalf of the Alliance For Change (AFC) to support the signing by the Co-operative Republic of Guyana of the Arms Trade Treaty on June 3rd, 2013.
I believe that the mere signing of treaty brings together a pool and a body of will by a number of countries to make our world safer from those who would want to use guns, whether conventional or unconventional, to terrorise, threaten, maim and kill human beings. However, the goal of controlling arms and the arms race is still, in spite of all the laudatory measures at the United Nations and other international fora, in its initial stages, because today we see that those big powers, which still talk about controlling the arms race, are themselves involved in an escalation of the arms race. There were treaties dealing with the eradication of nuclear weapons and still we see that not only the big powers, but intermediate powers are also acquiring nuclear warheads and nuclear capabilities. If we were to step back from the precipice we were, some years ago, when there was an escalation of nuclear threat of war and the preparation, thereof, in interspace, when there was a spiral in the arms race into space, we have had a pull back then that we had not had a nuclear contravention, so maybe we are reversing the process and starting at the beginning to deal with small arms, because the danger ultimately in the use of force and the use of lethal weapons starts with the very small weapons.
That is where I had said that in supporting this motion we need to address the issue of the political will. Merely signing on is an act of courage and commitment, but doing something to eliminate small arms and other arms is a safer guarantee that we intend to be faithful to our commitments and our international obligations. No more should we condone a situation where there were extrajudicial killings, where we had exposé of people being issued with firearm who had killed actually someone for a loaf of bread or for the payment for a meal and was issued an elevated calibre of weapon.
No more should we have death squads in Guyana; no more should we have the voluntary admission and, I would say, the condonation of elements linked to the narco-criminal trade, making disclosure that they worked to help protect a government of this country. No more should we, because that is a indictment and a condonation of the use of arms, small or big, and, therefore, our commitment to international law must not simply be nominal, must not simply be an act for a photo opportunity, but it must be meant to live those acts to which we commit ourselves.
I say this, and I say it out of all of what my good friends, who spoke before, had said about other things that have to be related, in way of governance, to small arms and arms trade in general, that it is a truism that the international transnational criminal enterprise thrives from the basis of guns for coke and coke for guns. We in Guyana have to see the nexus between the narco-criminal trade and arms trade and we have to be condign in dealing with the proceeds of narco-criminals. The integration we seek between arms trade and the suppression of arms trade, and the drugs trade, has to be seen in our commitment to enforcing the Anti-Money Laundering Act that we had passed. It is not simply the reformation of the Act, but to enforce what is there on the statute to show that we have a zero tolerance in dealing with the proceeds of arms of smuggling and narco-enterprise related matter, so that there is an integrated aspect to dealing with it, because if a country contains the excess and the surpluses from the narco-criminal trade, and for money laundering, it is going to be able to limit the possibility of trade in arms across the border.
I add also the integrated aspect to deal with corruption. If we are not serious on combating corruption in Guyana then we might as well not sign treaties, because when a country deals with corruption that is recreated to the transgression of international best practices in procurement then it is condoning the massing of dirty money that will ultimately be fuelled to protect the empire of dirty money. How does it protect it? It is not by holding the Bible; it holds the gun. That is how we have to look at our society in relation to governance. It is not in symbolic terms, but it is to look at it in real terms as to how do we transform our society and make our governance braced on a governance that respect the worth and dignity of human beings. The bigger picture will have to be seen.
The Alliance For Change supports this measure, supports the action taken by our Government and by our Republic. We would wish that some day we could realise the Caribbean as a zone of peace and to be respected as a zone of peace and that there would not be incursion of super powers, big powers, multi-national powers within our zone to contaminate our region with trafficking of their weapons to protect vested or any other geopolitical interest. We would wish that CARICOM would one day stand firm on the issue on the Caribbean as a zone of peace, not only as a zone of peace, but also as a zone that should be free from the dumping of any nuclear waste or toxic waste which will contaminate the future of countries in the Caribbean as a tourist destination with blue waters and white sands and the healthy atmosphere full of oxygen, and in Guyana our black waters of the rivers.
It is a small measure, but symbolically, and we support this as the way to go. [Applause]
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