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PM Mottley: “So much trouble in the world”

FeaturesPM Mottley: “So much trouble in the world”

“I hope that we leave here today conscious that we should never again come to a Summit to talk at each other, but simply to talk with each other in partnership and for the purpose for prosperity of our people,” Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley stated during her speech at the IX Summit of the Americas. 

LOS ANGELES, USA, Fri. June 10, 2022

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley called for meaningful action to address the three major crises facing our region and the world during her speech at the IX Summit of the Americas today. While she made reference both in her introduction and throughout her speech to lines from Bob Marley’s hit reggae song, “So much trouble in the world”, she expressed her hope that leaders will not just engage in speeches but that they will together make concrete decisions to make a difference in the lives of people across the region.

Mottley listed the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current high prices of fuel and food that are causing food insecurity across the regions as issues that are to be addressed at such a regional meeting.

“I chose the language of Bob Marley this morning, not because I am an apostle of Bob, as you probably have realized by now, but also because it reminds us of the day-to-day reality of our people and of our citizens, and we have come to Los Angeles hopeful that we’re not just going to engage in speeches or not going to engage in platitudes, but we go home to make a difference to people at perhaps the most difficult time this world has seen in 100 years. We have three global crises, and any one is sufficient to bring us down: the climate crisis hurts from you here in California in fires, to us in the Caribbean through the heart attack of hurricanes and the chronic NCD of water crisis and droughts or floods depending on where you go,” PM Mottley said.

She stated that the people of the region need immediate intervention to address the issue of food security, and pointed to the need for production of 6- and 12-week crops and protection from the high prices of fertilizers being seen on the global market due to the war in Ukraine.

“We need equally, as we have heard Prime Minister Brown and Prime Minister Davis say already this morning, that the debt crisis is already among many developing countries. We simply do not have the fiscal space to respond to crises not spun by ourselves but spun by others,” Mottley further said.

She pointed directly to what she calls double jeopardy – the fact that the Industrial Revolution which caused the increase in greenhouse gases and fueled the climate crisis was funded by the labor of the formerly enslaved ancestors of people living throughout the region. These descendants are now among those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and lack the finance to support adaptation and mitigation measures.

“We are facing a double jeopardy:  Our countries were those from whom wealth was extracted in order to build the developed world; our countries were left at independence with no compact, no money to finance basic rights of the house, and healthcare and education, and when we fought to do it. Now we find ourselves having those efforts crowded out, literally, by our inability to be able to face and find the money because we are using it to recover from climate crises, not of our own making. Where does the double jeopardy come that it is the very Industrial Revolution that the blood, sweat, and tears that our ancestors financed that is now causing us not to be able to respond to the needs of our people in the most basic of ways that humanity requires,” PM Mottley said.

She also remarked that financing is needed before the impact of the climate crisis and not just after.

“We need to be able to prepare before the crisis so we can reduce what we have to spend by 7 times. We need to recognize that adaptation has no private sector follow-up, because there is no return on investment in adapting to the climate realities. This is the function of the state, and the international community is required by the justice of the moment to help us prevent loss of life and property for a crisis that we didn’t create,” Mottley said.

In closing her speech, she decried the fact that three countries—Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela—were not invited to the summit, but called on them to put people before political ideology.

“I cannot leave this platform without saying that we have to speak some home truths to each other. It is wrong that Cuba and Venezuela and Nicaragua are not here, because as you’ve heard from the Bahamas that we need to speak with those with whom we disagree, and we don’t only need to narrowcast. That’s the problem with the world; there is too much narrow-casting instead of broadcasting. There is too much talk at, instead of talk with. But secondly, those countries must equally recognize that you cannot want to fully participate if you are not prepared equally to engage and to seek progress, and the simple priority must be people, not ideology. If we can make progress for people, if we can allow people to speak different languages, if we can create a minimum floor of education and healthcare for the people of the Americas, then, my friends, the City of Angels would have played its role in the history of the Americas!” Prime Minister Mottley said. 

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