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M. Carrington: Address to Latin America Summit 2018

 Address to Latin America Summit 2018, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2–5, 2018

Good afternoon.

As indicated in your program I am Michael Carrington, former speaker of the House of Assembly in Barbados, having been forced to leave office via the ballot on May 24th of this year. As such I make no claim whatsoever of speaking to you as a representative of the government of Barbados or expounding any position of the government of Barbados on this or any other matter.

Rather I speak to you in my personal capacity: influenced by a Christian upbringing in a society which is said to be Christian; tempered by a career in law of almost 30 years, with all its vagaries and seeming contradictions; and chastened by a foray in elective politics spanning almost 20 years to date, filled with uncertainty, ingratitude and hypocrisy.

As you are no doubt aware, Barbados is a part of that subset of the larger Central American and the Caribbean region known as Caricom. From what I have seen, it is not difficult to conclude that the story of both the political and economic union of Caricom mirrors the challenges faced by the universal peace movement. My wish, therefore, is that the same way we attempt to solve the issues of the wider world we do the same for Caricom, for our different cultures, ethnic origins, cuisine and religious beliefs are as diverse as they are interesting. Yet over the years, we have demonstrated that there can be unity in diversity. That notwithstanding, we have been unable to forge the kind of union that would bring more meaningful development to the region. We in the region all wrestle with similar issues: crime, illegal drug abuse, cost of government (particularly the provision of social services), unemployed youths etc. However, different countries in the region are at different stages in dealing with the same issues. I’m among those who happen to believe that with mutual cooperation and a common effort, much more progress can be made. The same view can apply to all sectors of our economies and our lives: tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, our religious systems, our judicial systems and yes, our attainment of world peace.

What has always puzzled me is this: the main and most important part of the human being is his soul. Similarly, the one thing that separates mankind from the other animals is his ability to reason. Yet to date, mankind has failed in its quest to use his powers of reasoning, his powers of logic, to save his soul.

All is not lost, however, for there are organizations such as the Universal Peace Federation and the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace. Yes, I do agree that parliamentarians as representatives of the people have a critical role to perform in the quest for universal peace and human development. It is therefore my sincerest wish that the drive toward world peace is stepped up in this region. We need to create one homogeneous, egalitarian society. We need to remove those prejudices which tend to divide us. It is only when this happens that the precept of world peace will stand a chance of succeeding. For me, the achievement of these works is not a fanciful hope and I truly believe this can happen even in our lifetime.

In Barbados, the process has been ongoing for some time. Earlier this year we formed the Barbados chapter of the IAPP. We need to do more. My own view is that the region needs an ongoing campaign of public education, awareness and a realignment of values and beliefs. If we fail to do that, we run the risk in my view of these organizations like the UPF and the IAPP being dismissed as just another self-serving movement, just another cult.

As part of my commitment to the process of world peace, in September of 2016, I attended in South Korea, the summit of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light. The occasion was the 2nd annual commemoration of the declaration of peace and the cessation of war. This international NGO, like the UPF and IAPP, is working towards the goal of world peace. I trust that these three organizations are also collaborating and cooperating with each other.

It is against this background that I believe this summit to be so timely and so very important. Let us now nurture this young plant so that it spreads throughout the region and the world and gives us the harvest befitting the master’s vineyard.

I wish to salute the founders of these movements, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon of blessed memory, and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.

I wish to acknowledge the presence here of all leaders, both secular and religious, not only from this region but throughout the world. I bring you a warm Barbados hello, reflective of nice calm, clean seas and white sandy beaches. At the conclusion of our deliberations here I wish you bon voyage and may we meet again to continue this great work and, finally, at the rendezvous upon its successful completion.

I wish to conclude by re-emphasizing that we must do more than talk and hold summits. That is not intended as a criticism. Rather it’s a call to arms, a call for each of us to see the urgency of acting now: spreading the word, spreading the love, spreading the peace. My brothers and sisters, we owe it to our children to ensure that world peace becomes a reality during our lifetime.



To go to the Latin America Summit 2018 Schedule page, click here.