‘Science is clear’ on hurricane destruction: SVG envoy

‘Science is clear’ on hurricane destruction: SVG envoy
Photo by Nelson A. King

Noting the destruction caused by recent Category 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the United Nations, I. Rhonda King, stresses that “the science is clear” on climate change.

“Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria — these four hurricanes, a massive earthquake in Mexico and the devastation they wrought has cause me to ponder,” said King in addressing Sunday the 34th anniversary Luncheon of the Vincentian American Independent National Charities, Inc. (VINCI) at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn.

“With respect to the hurricanes, the science is clear,” she added. “These hurricanes are not merely freak weather events or vengeful acts of God; they are the direct result of the acts and / or omissions of man.

“They are the manifestations of climate change,” the envoy continued. “No denying that, no fanciful equivocation will negate the truth.”

King said the four hurricanes “remind us that what remains in our humanity,” after relating a story on “what it means to be human.”

In addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly last month, St. Vincent and the Grenadines also said the death and destruction wrought by this hurricane season are not merely freak weather events or the vengeful acts of God, but are “the direct result of the acts and/or omissions of man.”

“They are the manifestations of climate change; the symptoms of the prescient predictions made by the overwhelming majority of scientists,” stressed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Louis Straker.

“Almost every year is hotter than the preceding one. Almost every hurricane season more intense. Almost every storm, drought and flood more destructive than the previous one. Today, it is a barefaced insult to the intelligence and experience of the peoples of island states and coastal areas to call climate change a hoax,” he added.

Sir Louis said that Small Island Developing States are the most vulnerable to climate change, while contributing the least to the emissions that cause it.

“But that truism is the foundation of our just, urgent and unavoidable demand that the nations that have contributed most to climate change similarly do the most to mitigate its effects and assist others in adapting to the dangerous new realities,” he said.

Noting that the global community came together, “through hard-fought negotiations,” to craft the Paris Climate Accord, Sir Louis chided as “an act of hostility” any attempt to disavow the “freshly-minted commitments of the Paris Accord.”

He called for “special and sustained support” of the international community to Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Cuba, the Bahamas and Dominica in “immediate and massive assistance in both immediate relief and long-term reconstruction.”

“That assistance must be concessional and free from antiquated notions of per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product),” he said. “As such, we join other countries in calling for a donors’ conference to address the daunting challenges that these countries face.

“Only together can we recover,” the foreign minister added, stating that the Caribbean territories, with special relationships to colonial powers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands, are “in desperate need of assistance and with limited options for international cooperation, given their unique political statuses.”

Despite its small size and limited means, Straker said the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have already sent emergency assistance to these territories, as well as technical expertise.

“We call on both administering powers and potential donors to look past political issues and look instead at the needs of the affected peoples and communities,” he said. “We call too on the colonial powers to accept fully their responsibility for the recovery and rehabilitation of these territories.”