Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Wilfred Elrington is in Lima, Peru for the 40th OAS General Assembly. In his address Minister Elrington said the topic for the Assembly which is "Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Americas" is right on target.

Wilfred Elrington; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

"Madam Chair insecurity naturally breeds fear and the fearful whether human or animal is prone to violence. In recent times our hemisphere has been visited by catastrophic events both of natural origin as well as man made that are suffusing our citizens with fear and despair. Included among these events are those occurrences associated with the phenomenon global warming such as sea level rises, rising temperatures, devastating floods, famines, powerful hurricanes, melting glaciers and ice burgs and desertification. Other catastrophic events of a man made nature are environmental damage or the type presently occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, civil wars between the forces of the state and drug cartels, plain old fashion wars and aggression and of course the world financial crisis which has everyone fearing that he or she may be the next without a job and to be ignominiously relegated to the mass of the poverty stricken and the wretched of the earth. Paradoxically; however, Madam Chair while the world is in the grips of all these terrible occurrences not everyone in the world in suffering in equal measure. Indeed, there are a number of nations whose people are so well endowed, well educated and developed that they have been able to that they have been able to utilize; technology, science and business acumen to enhance their lifestyles and security to levels never before experiences in the world as we know it."

Minister Elrington said countries who are observers at the meeting have given their assurances and commitment that they will cooperate and partner with the region in their quest for peace, security and sustainable development.

Wilfred Elrington; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

"Viewed from our vantage point in Belize we look note that the major differences between those successful countries and most of ours is that the leaders of those countries had the resolve, vision, integrity and ability to place the interest, development and wellbeing of all their populations above their self interest and the interest of their families and close associates. Those leaders studiously identified and pursued which enabled them to make sound provision and create excellent conditions and opportunities for the development of the majority of their populations from the youngest to the oldest. The hallmark of those societies are the existence of excellent; education, health, sporting, cultural and religious institutions. Tried and proven well respected judicial institutions and scrupulous adherence to the maintenance of law and order. They also have sophisticated social nets to help those of their citizens who are in anyway challenged or disadvantaged. In contrast to those leaders the empirical evidence revealed that but for a few exceptions the majority of our leaders in our hemisphere have not yet attained that level of resolve and selfless dedication to the advancement and development of our people. Indeed we routinely continue to discriminate against our own indigenous populations and those ethnic groups among us that are less fortunate.  This may well be due in large part to our experience over the last five hundred years but the sad fact is that the widespread absence of knowledge and the degree of inequality found in most of our societies today is truly astounding and are in our view the greatest contributors to our underdevelopment and the violent nature of our societies. We have failed to develop our most valuable and productive assets; the common people."

Minister Elrington used the occasion of his address to congratulate the OAS Secretary General Miguel Angel Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin on their re-election to office.  He also expressed solidarity with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador on the death and destruction caused by Tropical Storm Agatha.