The decolonization process “is slow and requires patience, comprehension and cooperation” said (Donatus) Saint Aimée during his visit this weekend to the extreme south of Argentina the province of Tierra del Fuego, that under Argentine law has jurisdiction over the South Atlantic disputed territories.
The G24 chief who is Santa Lucia’s ambassador to UN, over the weekend and after meeting with Governor Fabiana Rios and other local authorities sailed along the Beagle channel next to the Chilean border and later met with veterans from the 1982 Malvinas conflict when Britain expelled the Argentine invasion that occupied the Falklands for 74 days.
Since arriving in Argentina last Thursday, on an invitation extended last May, Ambassador Saint Aimée has met with Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman, members of the Argentine Congress, war veterans and different Argentine personalities linked to the issue. President Cristina Kirchner also received the G24 chief in a special audience at Government House.
“The visit is important because it helps to collect the most information possible, to have an idea of the feelings and it all helps for a better understanding and action at the (UN) Committee. I can read hundreds of documents and resolutions, but nothing equals contact with reality”, underlined the diplomat.
However Saint Aimée was careful not to comment on the recent British military exercises in the Falklands, --strongly condemned by Argentina-- nor about the current round of hydrocarbons exploration or fisheries which are managed by the elected government of the Islands.
“I know what’s happened, but not enough. First of all I must collect all possible information to have a founded and well informed opinion”, pointed out the diplomat, who on Sunday flies back to the New York.
Ambassador Saint Aimée admitted that the G24 group has not exploited all its “potential” but under his presidency “we will be more active in the remaining decolonization list of cases”.
During this tour of Tierra del Fuego, Saint Aimée was accompanied by Argentina’s UN ambassador Jorge Argüello who said that all the contacts and information collected by the Santa Lucia diplomat “are very important for the Argentina cause”.
Saint Lucia is a member of the Commonwealth and recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state, represented on the island by a Governor General. Executive power, however, is in the hands of the Primer Minister and his cabinet. The PM is normally the head of the party commanding the support of the majority of the members of the Hose of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of Parliament, the Senate, has 11 appointed members.
Saint Lucia joined the West Indies Federation (1958–62) when the colony was dissolved. In 1967, Saint Lucia became one of the six members of the West Indies Associated States, with internal self-government. In 1979 it gained full independence.
Saint Lucia is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market and home to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and La Francophonie.- Merco Press South Atlantic News Agency