Photos in this entry are by or courtesy Jamali Jack
St Vincent and the Grenadines’s (SVG) Ambassador to the United Nations Camillo Gonsalves was in Taipei this week on official business, one month after he took up duties at the UN in New York.
I took the opportunity to interview him for the Vincentian press and herein summarize some of the major elements of the interview.
Gonsalves described his first month as SVG’s Ambassador to the UN as “interesting”, “challenging” and somewhat of a “culture shock”.
He said the international body “in a lot of ways is what you make of it,” adding that some persons view the UN as “a big extended university seminar” where one can learn about many issues.
“…The challenge is to advance St. Vincent’s interest without necessarily getting bogged down with things that are not necessarily priority for St. Vincent. That being said, it is an international body and you can’t just put on blinders and say that this has nothing to do with St. Vincent so I am not involved,” he explained.
Among the issues of particular concern to SVG at the UN, Ambassador Gonsalves mentioned the impact of climate change, education and sports and financing for development.
He further said that issues relating to peacekeeping in Africa, accepting Cuba into the UN and lifting the embargo, and Taiwan’s participation in the UN are of “tangentially” importance to our country.
And, 25 years after St Vincent and the Grenadines established diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Gonsalves said establishing an embassy here will be a “natural progression” for the government in Kingstown, within the limits of SVG’s financial and human resources.
“It is not for me to put a timetable on it because that is not my call,” he said even as he noted that the return of Vincentian students to SVG on completion of their studies will put the nation in a better position to establish an embassy in Taipei.
“…When we get some of your collective talent back in St. Vincent and the Grenadines it would be easier for us to say we are going to put a man or a woman on the scene in Taiwan but we are not there yet,” he said.
Gonsalves also used his visit to Taipei to have dinner and socialize with Vincentian students here.
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