Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette addresses the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Band Treaty
Organisation (CTBTO) workshop opening session on Monday, November 26, 2007, at the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino, Cable Beach. (BIS photo: Raymond A. Bethel)
The Bahamas is set to ratify its position as a signatory to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, designed to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Acting Prime Minister the Hon Brent Symonette announced Monday, November 26, 2007.
He was addressing a regional workshop co-hosted by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is being held November 26 – 28, at the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino, Cable Beach.
The workshop is intended to build upon previous regional and sub-regional international co-operation workshops held in Peru in 2000, Jamaica in 2002, Guatemala in 2005 and Mexico in 2006.
The workshop seeks to enhance understanding of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) among the states in the region, promote its signature and ratification and facilitate the establishment of the verification regime, amongst other matters.
The Bahamas signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty on February 4, 2005, and, according to Minister Symonette, he would deposit the Instrument of Ratification with the United Nations Secretary General.
“The Bahamas would further welcome any guarantees of partnership to benefit from best practice and technical assistance to establish a National Data Centre in order to be in a position to benefit from the International Data Centre and the civil and scientific applications it distils, from the Treaty’s verification technologies,” said Minister Symonette, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The year 2006 marked the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty open for signature. Since then, the CTBT has been considered a cornerstone of the non-proliferation of the nuclear weapons regime.
The Treaty has 177 State Signatories, with 140 countries who have ratified. Thirty-four of the 44 States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty, whose ratification is required for entry into force, have ratified the Treaty.
Minister Symonette noted that, with The Bahamas virtually on the opposite side of the world from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and from continents and regions engulfed in armed conflict, it is difficult for Bahamians to understand the horror and depth of human loss and suffering, as well as environmental desecration caused by atomic weapons and war.
“Yet, this is the magnitude and imperative of our task as we seek again, through this regional workshop, to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty into force with universal compliance,” Minister Symonette said.
He hoped that the workshop, taking place in The Bahamas and the region, which is a comparative haven of peace, will come to be regarded as a significant turning point in expelling, once and for all, the contradictions between national political policies, human survival, and the threats of intensified international terrorism from the diversion of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons technology.
“The CTBT is a cornerstone of the international regime on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and therefore, integral to its effectiveness,” Minister Symonette said.
He also commented on the issue of transhipment of hazardous waste through Caribbean waters, because of its overriding importance to the sub-region.
“This waste composed of radioactive materials raises serious concerns for human health and development, given fragile marine and island eco-systems, and by extension, the livelihoods of many persons derived there from,” Minister Symonette said.
“Thus, it bears re-stating that the important link between an effective non-proliferation regime, and the attainment of an enduring global peace and stability cannot be over-emphasised in relation, also, to the viability of global, economic and social development,” Minister Symonette said.