Threats to national security also endanger democracy
-Ambassador Ishmael

Stabroek News
November 9, 2002

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Guyana's Ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS) Odeen Ishmael says that threats to national security also pose serious risks to democracy in the region.

The ambassador also told a meeting of the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security recently that "crime undermines society by establishing a state of instability which can lead to the destabilisation of democratic governments."

He further contended that the destabilising of democratic governments poses a threat to democracy and security in the entire hemisphere, a release from the OAS Department of Public Information said.

The meeting was called to share bilateral and sub-regional perspectives on security and was chaired by Mexico's Ambassador Miguel Ruiz-Cabenas. The Committee on Hemispheric Security convened the meeting as part of preparations for the Special Conference on Hemispheric Security to be held in Mexico City next May, the release said.

Referring to the (Caribbean) Regional Security System, instituted in 1982, Ishmael urged more emphasis on moving the dialogue on peace and security beyond the traditional discourse of military threats, to include the challenges faced by developing countries and small island states. In that light, the ambassador posited that "perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing the CARICOM region today is that of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. He pointed out that "it poses an immense threat to social and economic development and has the potential of undermining the fabric of the entire society."

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