KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, April 18, IWN — Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will join leaders from across the Commonwealth’s small states at a high-level conference on governance in London from April 23 to 25.
The Vincentian delegation at the meeting also comprises Gonsalves’ wife, Eloise, Minister of National Reconciliation, Maxwell Charles, and Cabinet Secretary, Susan Dougan.
Th Prime Minister will meet Vincentians in the High Wycombe area on April 25 during a town hall meeting.
The Commonwealth meeting will focus on finding workable solutions to the challenges of governance, policy and public administration in very small states, which account for 19 of the Commonwealth’s members.
Small states share specific concerns and common interests, relating to their small size and geographic isolation and have a limited ability to reap the benefits of economies of scale, the Commonwealth said.
Most of these small nations are also islands, often largely dependent on international trade and particularly susceptible to external shocks.
Added to these economic challenges are environmental vulnerabilities and limited institutional capacity of the public sector.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma spoke of the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting its smaller member countries. “This conference is, I believe, the first ever to focus on finding answers to the specific challenges these nations are facing in developing a public administration to meet the expectations of their citizens, and the joint responsibility of the political and administrative leadership towards that end. The conference will seek practical ways to promote the interests of our smaller member states, including in their capacity to access climate financing and to benefit from e-governance,” Sharma said.