Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley delivering the 16th Prebisch Lecture on Tuesday at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, on the topic: Invisible Yet Indispensable. (GP)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has expressed concerns about small island states failing to access markets on fair terms.

Ms. Mottley highlighted correspondent banking services as an example, as she delivered the prestigious 16th Prebisch Lecture on Tuesday, at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, on the topic: Invisible Yet Indispensable.

The Prime Minister told her global audience: “It matters not that the absence of that correspondent banking will cause our countries, our regions and our people to be cut off and be quarantined, just as lepers were in centuries past, from a global community, as we seek to buy goods and services from outside our borders.

“How will our people trade if they don’t have access to a banking system that allows them to transmit and to pay for services and goods across the borders?  It is pure, unadulterated hypocrisy and at worst, contempt and insensitivity as to what happens to human beings, who happen not to live within the borders of the developed world.”

During the near 90-minute address, Ms. Mottley said that unless the fundamental obstacle to our development was addressed, she feared that the imbalance of power and wealth in the global community of nations would remain.

“Let us not be shy to confront it; middle income countries refused today to be allowed access to development aid and assistance, purely on the basis of arbitrary determinations of per capita and GDP formulations that bear no relationship to the reality of our lives.

“And even when money is promised in the midst of disasters, money promised and money delivered are two totally different experiences. We must not be naïve in appreciating that the head start given the developed world to build their countries and to build out their industrial base was done on wealth extracted from millions of people across the developing world.  It is a difficult conversation but…you cannot be mature as an adult, or mature as a country and not have difficult conversations,” she stressed.

Emphasizing the importance of reforming international institutions, Ms. Mottley said this restructuring was overdue, and the task must now be completed.  

She told the gathering: “The worthiness and pursuit of this reform we all know is unquestionable, but yet it remains, decades after, unresolved. We need to put it to bed…so we can get on to the other issues that are truly confronting us,” she stated.

The Prime Minister said countries should not sign up to international treaties, charters, commitments and declarations and then treat them as if they were not meaningful, and did not apply to them.

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