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Peace matters to us

  • Daily Nation (Barbados)
  • 12 Jul 2019

Barbados, now Independent for half a century, cannot bury its head in the sand and pretend that it operates in splendid isolation. We as a people do not. Careful observation of current events shows how interconnected we are.

The Venezuela crisis is important to us even though the main developments are taking place on Venezuelan soil.

Our critical interests in the tourism and international business sectors could be adversely affected if domestic political problems in that troubled country explode into externally supported military conflict.

We, therefore, support the efforts to broker talks aimed at resolving the conflict in a negotiated settlement. The reputation of this region as one of peace redounds to the economic and other benefits which matter to all of us.

In this modern world, we may be independent but we are also interdependent. Hence the best laid economic plans, developed solely on the basis of local considerations only, may not make the best sense.

John Donne was right. No man is an island, and in the context of the Venezuela problem, if the military bell tolls for that country, then it tolls for us too, even if we are not at war with anyone.

Given the complexity of current global politics, Barbadians must become even more aware of and consider external issues which directly affect our well-being.

In very recent times, for example, we found ourselves on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s and European Union’s blacklists. This brought forth immediate response, which we expected, since it was easy to see how the livelihood of every man, woman and child in this country could be affected.

The private sector and the

Government joined forces and successfully dealt with the issue.

Apart from anything else, this incident shows how vital it is to maintain embassies and high commissions.

Sometimes critics suggest that these outposts are expensive, but they allow us to keep our ears to the ground, and anticipate and meet problems with the necessary and appropriate action.

In an earlier Editorial, we urged support for the Irish Republic, when it was challenged in court by the European Union which objected to that country’s tax laws, similar to ours, which allowed computer giant Apple to establish a tax-saving offshore headquarters company there.

It is becoming clearer that late Prime Minister Errol Barrow, in his United Nations speech back in 1966, adopted a powerful and correct stance. “Friends of all and satellites of none” is not only a sound bedrock principle of our foreign policy, but in a complex world, we are better able to pursue our vital interests untrammelled by ideological shackles.

We hope every success attends the Venezuela negotiations, particularly for the people of that country.

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