TT bids to host Arms Trade Treaty secretariat rent free

After 15 years, the Government will contribute 50 percent of the rent for the secretariat’s office space.

This is according to Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran in an address on Friday at an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) reception hosted by TT’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York.

Dookeran disclosed the offer ahead of the First Conference of States Parties scheduled in August for Mexico where a decision will be taken on where the secretariat will be housed.

In February, TT hosted the First Preparatory Meeting in Port-of- Spain at which some 300 delegates from 90 States, and representatives of inter-governmental organisations, industry and civil society, took part.

Continuing the lobby, Dookeran noted in a prepared text, that the offer to host the secretariat was based on positions adopted by many States during the negotiations of the treaty on financing of the secretariat’s operations.

States had argued, he said, that financial contributions should not be too onerous on account of financial difficulties many countries were facing.

As such, TT was committed, he said, “to providing the enabling environment to reduce the financial burden on States Parties.”

Other provisions to host the secretariat, Dookeran said, will include a state-of-the-art video conferencing system, a motor vehicle — replaceable at the end of each third year — for its first ten years of operation, extension of diplomatic privileges and immunities to specified senior officials, and spouses, and dependents will be given “State-funded free tertiary education.”

TT was also in a position, he said, to offer comparable services, including the most up-to-date information communication technology, to address other matters associated with the hosting of an international organisation such as the ATT Secretariat.

These include world class conference facilities, and other comparable services, and much lower labour and energy costs than others who have offered to be the hosts.

In the past, Dookeran said, TT has shown the capacity to host major international conferences, including the Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference.

Importantly, he said, TT was situated at the gateway of the Americas with flight connections on a daily basis to some of the major cities of the world, either directly, or via third cities.

“The notion that it is easier to get to traditional centres in the north from countries of the south, as compared to travelling from the north to the south, needs to be rebutted,” he said.

Several agencies and international bodies, including the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Association of Caribbean States, and different United Nations agencies, he said, were already headquartered in TT.

The ATT Secretariat, he said, should be situated in a region where the treaty’s objectives could be achieved, including universality, eradicating the illicit trade in conventional arms and preventing diversion.

TT’s candidature, Dookeran said, was the only one that has been endorsed by regional and political groupings, such as the Caribbean Community, Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, and which has also attracted cross-regional support from States in Europe, Africa and the Asia and Pacific region.


"TT bids to host Arms Trade Treaty secretariat rent free"

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