Guyana Ambassador speaks of threat of poverty

Ambassador Bayney Karran, in his first address as Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), yesterday stressed the need to treat poverty as “an impediment to the integration process as well as to democracy and security.“Ambassador Karran, who presented credentials to OAS Secretary General César Gaviria last December 28, told the Organization’s Permanent Council, “If there exists a threat to the security of the hemisphere which is greater than the drug trade, as potent as HIV/AIDS and as damaging as terrorism, such a threat will be the growth of poverty.“He went on to explain: “It is this threat which lies at the root of Guyana’s proposal for a Regional Integration Fund within the FTAA [Free Trade Area of the Americas] process.“Noting how the question of poverty “looms larger every day,” the Guyanese envoy underscored the need for effective action on the call - by the High Level Meeting on Poverty, Equity and Social Inclusion in Venezuela last October - to, “urgently combat the serious problems of poverty, social exclusion and inequity that affect, in varying degrees, the countries of the hemisphere.” Unless this is done, he warned, “we risk a duplication of the kinds of social unrest which have recently unfolded in some areas of the hemisphere, such as the Caribbean and the Andean regions.“In his first presentation to the Permanent Council, the Guyanese Ambassador also remarked that the Organization’s integrated approach to political, economic and social issues in the hemisphere was “entirely congruent with Guyana’s national development strategies.“The meeting was chaired by Canada’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Paul Durand, who assumed the Council’s chairmanship in early January.