The Bahamas warns against allowing the decolonization process to succumb to lethargyListen /
The General Assembly's committee that handles decolonization matters has forwarded 10 draft texts to the Assembly, with half of them being approved without a vote, reaffirming the rights of the people of Non-Self-Governing Territories to shape their destiny.
The committee approved its annual omnibus draft resolution on Questions of a number of territories including several in the Caribbean, among them Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. Other states include: Bermuda, American Samoa, Guam, Pitcairn and Saint Helena.
By its terms, the General Assembly would stress the importance of the decolonization process by expediting the application of the work programme for the decolonization of each of the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories on its list, on a case-by-case basis, as well as reaffirm that in the process of decolonization, there was no alternative to the principle of self-determination, which was a fundamental human right.
Speaking in explanation of her vote, the representative of The Bahamas Ms. Sasha Dixon stated that her country was pleased with the adoption of the draft resolution under the agenda of the decolonization Declaration.
Sasha Dixon: We must not allow the process of decolonization to succumb to lethargy, or, enter the periphery of our outlook on all that we are working to achieve as an organization. The Bahamas, in this regard, underscores its support for the swiftest achievement of the important objective of Decolonization for all Non-Self Governing Territories, in a manner consistent with the principle of self-determination. On the question of Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas wished to place on record that in view of its close cultural and historical ties with that Territory, the Bahamas viewed the developments there with interest and concern and echoed the calls made by the Latin American and Caribbean States for its earliest return to democratic and representative governance.
Ms. Dixon said that The Bahamas is encouraged by the stated intention of the administering power – the United Kingdom, to hold elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 9 November this year. She said The Bahamas also noted with interest that the Constitutional reform process has been completed.
Sasha Dixon: The Bahamas underscores that any unequivocally expressed will of the indigenous peoples must be fully respected and in no way stifled, either directly or indirectly, so that they might be permitted to shape their own future. The input and involvement of the People, including through their elected representatives, is always of utmost importance, including in situations of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Indeed, all activities which have a bearing on the interests of the peoples of any Non-Self Governing Territory such as economic activities, must take into account the wishes of the people in pursuit of promoting their political, economic, social and educational interests.
Ms. Dixon concluded that the principle of self-determination must, therefore, not merely be understood as an abstract ideal, but as an imperative to act, toward its achievement.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.