Dr. Hon Mark Brantley, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Saint Kitts and Nevis used his opportunity at the podium of the UN 72ND General Assembly to speak in depth about ensuring a sustainable planet – offering thoughts and prayers for those impacted by the three hurricanes in the Caribbean and the two recent earthquakes in Mexico.
Hon. Brantley highlighted the various countries and territories that suffered devastation, noting unimaginable destruction in a wide swathe of the Caribbean. Lives have been lost; homes and infrastructure destroyed; economies reduced to tatters; and years of development wiped out. “Hurricane season for 2017 is not over yet,” he warned.
He condemned the “sterile analysis” of GDP per capita that puts the island States in middle and high income countries, locking them out of accessing developmental assistance or affordable financing.
“It is a travesty and a tragedy for the world community to witness such destruction caused by forces entirely outside the control of Caribbean nations and then refuse to allow those nations access to the necessary resources to rebuild,” he criticized, demanding that a vulnerability index be developed as part of the matrix for accessing developmental assistance.
Pointing to “irrefutable” science, Mr. Brantley stated: “Our oceans continue to get warmer due to our continued abuse of our Planet Earth.” He advocated for treating these phenomena not as natural disasters but as the man-made disasters they are, appealing for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and all other actions that aggravate the effects of climate change. “We cannot continue to abuse our Planet and expect to remain unscathed,” he emphasized.