Creating job, reversing unemployment is most critical near-term priorities for the Government, says Mitchell
By Yasmin Popsecu
In order to reverse current economic trends, one of the core imperatives of the Government of The Bahamas is the strengthening of the domestic economy and the creation of jobs, the broadening of Bahamian ownership in the economy and the attainment of a higher standard of living, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell told the United Nations..
He said that creating job opportunities and reversing the "unacceptable" unemployment situation in the country, which presently stands at a rate of 15.9 percent, has been identified at the highest political level, as the most critical near-term priorities for the Government, especially in relation to young Bahamians.
He stated that the government is committed to solving youth unemployment.
He told delegates that The Bahamas envisions a greater role for the United Nations in the area of international cooperation in tax matters.
"In this connection, The Bahamas, along with the wider Group of 77 and China, continues to call for the conversion of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation on Tax Matters into an intergovernmental subsidiary body of the ECOSOC in keeping with the Doha mandate," he said.
"We also continue to deplore the use of some states of their domestic laws for extra territorial affect in such areas as human trafficking, financial services and drug smuggling. We continue to believe that these laws with extraterritorial affect are misplaced and put an unfair burden upon small states and may be interpreted as a departure from the international norms of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states."
Mitchell said The Bahamas underscores the need for enhanced policy dialogue and international cooperation on the question of building "green economies", which will indeed require new investments, skills formation, technology development and transfer, and capacity building.
"The Gross National Income (GNI) of The Bahamas is significantly affected by a small population of wealthy expatriates whose high incomes skew this measure away from true economic realities. The construct of per capita Gross National Income therefore takes on a unique interpretation in the context of developing countries like The Bahamas," he said.
"The Bahamas continues to be deserving of considerations which will not restrict access and deny us the right to develop sustainability, supported by financial, human and technological resources using gross national income per capita as a pretext to deny financial assistance to us."
Mitchell noted that the General Assembly is set to consider, during this 67th Session, the Scale of Assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations Regular Budget and Peacekeeping Operations for the period 2013-2015, The Bahamas takes this opportunity to reiterate her longstanding position that per capita gross national income, for the reasons given, should not be accorded overriding weight in determining capacity to pay.
He said: "A representative, transparent, responsive, accountable, democratic and inclusive Security Council, predicated on an increased membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, as well as modification of its working methods, is overdue. My delegation sincerely hopes that the next round of negotiations on Security Council reform during this session will result in tangible progress aimed at making the Council all that it can and should be."
Mitchell said it is our desire for the realisation of unfulfilled potential also extends to our regional partner, Haiti. The Bahamas, he said, has been unremitting and consistent in her support for the people of Haiti and their aspirations for peace, security and development.
He then said The Bahamas commends the important role of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in providing security and in laying the foundation for its long-term recovery and stability.
"Pledges made toward Haiti's recovery and reconstruction must be honoured and fulfilled so that the required work can be undertaken and completed."
He added that The Bahamas welcomes increased dialogue on improving international cooperation with respect to international migration and development. Illegal migration from Haiti is a vexing issue for our country.
"We agree that proper cooperation can certainly help to ensure that migration occurs through safe and regulated channels, as well as leverage the contributions that migrants can make to development," said Mitchell. "The Bahamas will continue to participate constructively in the process leading to the second high-level dialogue on International Migration and Development to be held by the General Assembly in 2013, with a view to addressing these and other related issues so crucial to our development.
"Given the events over the past year in The Bahamas with regard to illegal migration, some tragic, and, poaching in our seas from illegal persons from the south of us, The Bahamas will be taking stronger measures over the next year to put a stop to these illegal activities. We appeal to all nations in the region to prevail upon their citizens to cease and desist from these unlawful activities. We intend to work both bilaterally and with the broader international community to stop these assaults on our national and economic security.
Turning his attention to HIV/AIDS, Mitchell said The Bahamas has made significant strides in the areas of maternal and child health and HIV/AIDS adding that in this, the 50th year since women obtained the right to vote in The Bahamas, we are committed to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women, as was affirmed by the Minister of Social Services during consideration of The Bahamas' Reports by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at its Fifty-Second Session held in July last.
"The Bahamas, nevertheless, remains concerned about the increasing incidences of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among her populace, in particular women who are disproportionately affected by such preventable illnesses."
© 2012 The Freeport News