Extract from the Communique of the Tenth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Suriname, 4-5 March, 1999.
Movement of Hazardous Material
through the Caribbean Sea
Heads of Government noted that emissaries of France, Japan and the United Kingdom, among others, had brought to their attention, the imminent shipment of nuclear materials through the Caribbean Sea. They agreed to issue the following statement:
Statement on The Movement of Nuclear
Material Through the Caribbean Sea
Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community reiterate their unwavering opposition and that of their peoples to the blatent and persistent use of the Caribbean sea for the transhipment of highly toxic nuclear materials. They again call on the Governments of France, Japan and the United Kingdom to respect the economic importance and ecological fragility of the Caribbean Sea and the well-being of the millions of people who depend on this unique resource for their very existence. Fully conscious of the catastrophic consequences of any accident for their peoples and for the ecological systems of the Caribbean Sea, they totally reject its use as a transit for such nuclear materials. This is in keeping with the repeated, expressed desire of the Governments and peoples of the Caribbean.
It is therefore with profound concern that Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community have learnt of the simultaneous despatch of two shipments of highly radio-active nuclear materials from France and the United Kingdom through the Caribbean Sea and the Panama Canal destined for Japan. They have also learnt that the current shipment of mixed uranium oxide fuel from the United Kingdom is only the first of a series. They are aware that, in addition to the usual safety concerns, there are credible reports that the physical security of such cargoes is grossly inadequate. The Heads express their outrage at the increasing frequency and volume of the hazardous materials being shipped and the fact that the Caribbean Sea has now become the preferred transit route, in spite of repeated protests by States in and bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
Heads of Government therefore appeal to the United States, with its responsibility for the passage of vessels through the Panama Canal, to use its authority to prohibit the shipment of hazardous nuclear materials via that route and into the Caribbean. They likewise reiterate their appeal to the Governments of France, Japan and the United Kingdom to desist from this dangerous misuse of the Caribbean Sea.
5 March 1999
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