CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington
Caricom blasts Suriname’s atomic plans
Suriname’s proposed construction of a nuclear power facility has continued to come in for fierce criticism.
The move could also split members of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) which has traditionally opposed the passage of nuclear waste through its waters.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the smelter and power plant, estimated to cost ($30 million), is reportedly scheduled for August this year. However, up to two weeks ago the issue had not been raised at the level of Caricom. Caricom Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, said that like many other persons, he had read about the Dutch-speaking country’s plans in the media. He added that it had not been discussed at the level of Caricom, nor had anyone brought it to the attention of the 15-state grouping, of which Suriname became a member in 1995. As such, he was not able to comment further. Caricom has, over the years, consistently called on governments guilty of shipping nuclear waste across the Caribbean Sea to stop. Concerns about the ecological fragility of the Caribbean Sea and the well-being of the millions of people who depend on the unique resource for their very existence have been put forward.
If the cynics among us wanted more of a reason to become even more so, we have the Secretary-General of Caricom admitting publicly that the first time he heard the news of Surinam’s plan to build a nuclear plant was when he read it in the newspaper! As the article confirms Surinam is a member of the Caricom “famiy” and the fact that they would embark on a policy which is counter to the position of Caricom is of concern. Most of the Caribbean islands depend heavily on tourism which in turn thrives on the region maintaining a healthy natural habitat. Pollutants from a nuclear plant from within the bowels of our region must raise alarm bells.
As citizens of the Caribbean we can only hope that the leaders of our region can come together in order to arrive at a common place. BU feels that whatever is said and done at this stage that the horse would already have bolted. This affair epitomizes the ineffective organ we call Caricom. We observe in recent times the inability of the community to determine a common foreign policy, we observed the thumping of the chests by Barbados at the revenue gained from CWC 2007 when many of our sister countries did not benefit in any significant way, we could go on. How do the leaders of our region expect the “commoners” to believe that we have what is takes to become a union?
At BU we believe that a union is the only way forward to combat the forces of the first world creation which they have dubbed “Globalization”. In reality we know that the political immaturity and insecurity of our politicians, who want to remain the big chief of a small band of indians, will serious challenge the idea of a Caricom space devoid of all barriers.
BU will not even bother to ask our government or opposition to comment on this so important an issue which could threaten the existence of our children and generations to follow.