NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas is trying to fulfil its obligation as a member of the United Nations in the fight against prohibiting the creation and trafficking of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette said.
He made the statement upon the official visit of John Freeman, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to The Bahamas from December 10 to 11, 2008.
Mr. Freeman made a joint courtesy call on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette; Minister of National Security the Hon. Tommy Turnquest; Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs the Hon. Michael Barnett and Minister of the Environment the Hon. Earl Deveaux in the Committee Room at the House of Assembly, Wednesday, December 10.
Mr. Freeman, accompanied by his Special Advisor Ian Richards, paid a Courtesy Call on His Excellency the Hon. Arthur Hanna, Governor-General at Government House and on Thursday, held a Policy Review and Refinement Stakeholder Consultation session with relevant individuals at the Westin and Sheraton at Our Lucaya Resort in Grand Bahama.
Mr. Symonette said The Bahamas would ratify the WMD convention, depending on the outcome of the meetings and a decision by the Cabinet.
One hundred and eighty-five countries have ratified the convention, which came into effect in 1997. It is designed to eliminate the scourge of chemical weapons and also to make sure that all peaceful chemical activities can proceed well.
“We want to continue discussions we’ve had over sometime about The Bahamas moving from being a signatory to ratifying the convention,” Mr. Freeman said. “This convention is about encouraging, not discouraging the chemical industry.
“The Bahamas has been taking considerable care to prepare yourselves which is very admirable. You’ve involved all the stakeholders, and have given it a high level of attention.
You have already engaged with us all aspects of legislation that is needed, you’ve had discussions with our legal team so I think The Bahamas is getting itself in a very good position to move forward very soon towards ratification.”
According to the UN representative, it would be “a good welcome to the International Community when The Bahamas signs on to a very important instrument in terms of the chemical weapons but also disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“It is a very successful treaty and convention so far and it would be even more successful if The Bahamas is a ratifying member of it,” Mr. Freeman said.