Lindsey Collen, Lalit member, participated live in a debate on the World Trade Organisation this Saturday 13th September, on Radio Plus. This was in the program, Pour/Contre, in between 9.00 and 10.00 a.m. The representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Cader Hossen, were also present in this debate.
Lindsey Collen explained that the WTO rest on four pillars. First an existing pillar, into which agriculture has been added, thus undermining the right of people to food security. The second pillar is Investment, which has not been fully implemented up to now. This pillar is known as TRIMS, is the one that imperialist powers want the most. The aim of this pillar is to integrate the much contested Multilateral Agreement Investment, MAI, to 'safeguard' capital investment in any country, thus undermining national legislations that protects workers, social and environmental rights. GATS, General Agreement on Trade in Services, is the third pillar, where almost every services are now considered as a commodity to be offered by a country to multinationals, thus undermining social services, such as health, education, water, pension, and electricity. The fourth pillar is the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, TRIPS, that are encouraging the monopolization of knowledge and technology in the hands of a tiny few multinationals. It is this pillar that deals with Pharmaceutical patents and GMO's. Lindsey Collen explained that now this is having disastrous impact on the life of small farmers. In India for example, thousands of peasants are committing suicides.
Lindsey Collen also said that the whole process establishing the WTO has been undemocratic, with governments signing binding agreements on future generations, without any democratic debate whatsoever, not even in National Assemblies, nor having any referendum. She criticized the arms twisting functioning whereby imperialist state run by their transnational pressure on and blackmail poor countries.
Lindsey Collen raised serious concerns on the fact the WTO is a quite a different kind of international organisation where the private sector and elected government have been integrated within the same body. WTO tend to incorporate the Corporations within the state itself. The Mauritian government included the private sector in its official delegation, while workers and social organisation views and interests have not been taken into consideration at all.
"Huge movement is now developing all around the world to challenge the very philosophy governing the WTO and capitalist globalisation". "The whole of the WTO framework is to introduce a new sets of 'rights': 'rights' for capital and undercut the rights of people won over centuries of struggle" she stressed.
She concluded that humanity faces huge catastrophe if this philosophy gets it way. "This is why the massive protests against the WTO world wide and in Mauritius is vital", Lindsey Collen highlighted.
Another member of Lalit, Ram Seegobin, will also be live on Sunday 14th at 12.00, for a debate on the WTO.