Poverty is impediment to democracy, security, Karran tells OAS
Stabroek News
February 4, 2004

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Ambassador Bayney Karran, Guyana's Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS), last week stressed the need to treat poverty as "an impediment to the integration process as well as to democracy and security."

Making his first presentation to the OAS Permanent Council, Ambassador Karran said, "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," a release from the OAS quoted the Guyanese envoy as saying.

Karran, who presented credentials to OAS Secretary- General Cesar Gaviria last December, went on to note, "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", Karran underscored the need for effective action on the earlier call to "urgently combat the serious problems of poverty, social exclusion and inequity that affect, in varying degrees, the countries of the hemisphere." That call was made last October by the High Level Meeting on Poverty, Equity and Social Inclusion in Venezuela.

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 nations."

Karran also remarked that the organisation'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.