Statement by Caricom Heads of Government
on the Shipment of Nuclear Waste
Through the Caribbean Sea

Caricom Heads of Government, meeting in Port-of-Spain for their Twentieth regular session from July 4-7 July 1999, discussed reports that two British flagged ships carrying nearly 450 kilograms of plutonium were soon to leave Ports in Britain and France for Japan via routes traversing the Caribbean Sea.

The Heads of Government recalled with great concern the fact that it was only four months ago at their Tenth Inter-Sessional Meeting in Suriname in March that they had grave cause to reiterate their unwavering opposition and that of the people of the Caribbean to this blatant and persistent misuse of the Caribbean Sea for the transshipment of highly toxic nuclear material, a stance fully supported by the April 1999 Summit of the twenty five member Association of Caribbean States (ACS) which rejected the continuous use of the Caribbean Sea "for the transport of nuclear and toxic waste."

The Heads of Government were particularly outraged at the callous and contemptuous disregard of their appeals by the governments of France, the United Kingdom and Japan to desist from this dangerous misuse of the Caribbean Sea. They also bitterly regretted that their appeal to the United States to use its authority as the nation in control of the passage of vessels through the Panama Canal to prohibit such shipments, fell on deaf ears.

In light of these situations Heads of Government have vowed to take all necessary steps to protect their people and the fragile ecology of the Caribbean Sea from this highly dangerous threat to which they are now habitually exposed, as well as to safeguard the livlihood of the millions of people who depend on that unique resource for their well-being.

Issued on July 16, 1999.

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