and Amy Lipman United Nations Ambassador from Grenada Eugene Pursoo spoke in Vance Hall Thursday as part of the third annual Cari-Fest, a week-long program celebrating the Caribbean culture. Pursoo's speech focused on the many problems faced by island countries, such as Jamaica and Grenada. Some of these included the existence of a small domestic market, susceptibility to natural disasters and external debt. He said these issues set island countries apart from other constituencies of the world. The situation is so severe, he said, that insurance companies are beginning to withhold insurance for island properties. Part of the problem, he said, is the limited resources many of the island countries face. "We recognize the limitation we have -- tourism is the only resource we can exploit to make a living," he said. But, he also said that tourism may cause problems and is a potential health hazard to the islands. "There seems to be a pattern between AIDS and increased tourism," he said. Another problem the islands face, he continued, is the outward migration of educated citizens resulting in what Pursoo called a "brain drain." "It's almost as if we are educating people for the other markets in the world," he said. He maintained that human resources are essential for the development of these countries. "In all honesty, our greatest resource happens to be you," he said. He concluded by urging those with island roots to share their expertise with their homelands in order to aid in development. "Not only will the island benefit, but you will find that your lives have counted for something," he said. The ambassador said he will be discussing possible solutions with other nations at an international conference in Barbados from April 26 to May 6. "It is our hope that we will have left Barbados with a sustainable path," Pursoo said. "One that is built on self-reliance." CASA Public Relations Director Bryan Cordain said the event was successful and the speech helped inform the University community about the Caribbean lifestyle. "I think it was a good start to invite ambassador Pursoo to the University," he said. "It was a way for us to enlighten members of the community about Caribbean culture."

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