The Hon. Arnaldo Brown, MP - Sectoral Debate 2014

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Minister Browns sectoral debate contribution 2014

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The Hon. Arnaldo Brown, MP - Sectoral Debate 2014

  1. 1. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 PRESENTED BY: HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP MINISTER OF STATE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND FOREIGN TRADE TUESDAY, JULY 1, 2014 GORDON HOUSE KINGSTON
  2. 2. CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ���������������������������������������������������������������������������4 CONSTITUENCY STEWARDSHIP �����������������������������������������������4 GLOBAL OVERVIEW ������������������������������������������������������������������12 TRADE RELATIONS �������������������������������������������������������������������13 ENGAGEMENT WITH THE JAMAICAN DIASPORA �����������������18 CONSULAR ISSUES �����������������������������������������������������������������23 ENVIRONMENTAL AND MARITIME ISSUES �����������������������������24 THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA (G77) �������������������������������������27 SOUTH–SOUTH COOPERATION �������������������������������������������������28 THE CARIBBEAN AND AMERICAS REGION ���������������������������30 CONCLUSION ����������������������������������������������������������������������������32
  3. 3. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 4 INTRODUCTION Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to once again address this august House. I do so only with the good judgment of the people of East Central St Catherine, the trust reposed in me by the Honourable Prime Minister, and by no means least, the grace of God. It has been a year since my last presentation, a report on my stewardship to the people of Jamaica, and to my constituents of East Central St Catherine, without whose consent I would not be here today. And with whose consent, I intend to remain here a very, very long time. CONSTITUENCY STEWARDSHIP Mr. Speaker, As I rise to make my third consecutive contribution to this Sectoral Debate, I wish to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your even-handedness in presiding over the sittings of this Honourable House. I also take this opportunity to thank my constituents, without whose support, I would not be standing in this Honourable House or have the opportunity to represent my country in the esteem halls of power internationally. Mr. Speaker, I thank my family for their care, support and understanding as I seek to serve my country. I am extremely grateful that we have in our Most Honourable Prime Minister, a first among equals who treats Ministers and Ministers of State with respect. A Prime Minister who accords the appropriate latitude to each Member of her Administration to discharge the functions and responsibilities conferred through our Instruments of Appointment. I am personally grateful to the Prime Minister for the confidence she has continued to repose in me as her Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to salute my esteemed colleague and Minister, Senator the Honourable Arnold J Nicholson, QC, for his sterling leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and for his enormous work ethic. As with the Most Honourable Prime Minister, Minister Nicholson affords me the requisite space to carry out my assigned functions. He does not leave me out on a limb but provides sage guidance in his inimitable way. Mr. Speaker, The Permanent Secretary, Under Secretaries and other members of the Civil Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, including our Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Honorary Consuls, the Diaspora Advisory Board Members and the members of the Diaspora leadership, deserve our commendation for their dedication and commitment to excellence.
  4. 4. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 5 Mr. Speaker, There is my support staff which comprises my Special Assistant, my Constituency Administrators, my Constituency Development Fund Consultant, my Constituency Consultant, Cluster Managers and other workers in my Constituency. Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the Members of the Diplomatic Corps who are present. I salute my three Councillors – Councillor Oral Gunnings of the Gregory Park Division, Councillor Claude Hamilton of the Portmore Pines Division and Councillor Ainsley Parkins of the Southboro Division. All three Councillors have been providing effective service and leadership at the Divisional level. All three reside in their respective Divisions and are with the people on a daily basis identifying with their cause. Mr. Speaker, I am supported in the Constituency by Community Leaders, Pastors, Principals and Teachers. In that vein, I pause to pay tribute to the late Mary Royes-Henry, the former President of the Gregory Park Community Development Committee. Mrs. Henry was a retired Senior Superintendent of Police, a relentless community activist. She was a fighter and even when battling cancer, she continued to serve the community until her last breath. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to her and to express profound condolences to her family, in particular her daughter. The community has suffered a great loss. We have suffered a great loss. Mr. Speaker, This leads me to speak about the Constituency and it is appropriate that I begin with Sports. It is in this area that Mrs. Henry was most valuable. She led the charge with the implementation of the Hamilton Gardens Cricket facility where the New Zealand Government made available J$2.7 million for the project. Under her leadership, Phase I of this facility was completed in February of this year coinciding with the visit of His Excellency Mr. Simon Tucker, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Jamaica, on the occasion of his participation in the 2014 Diplomatic Week Activities. Mr. Speaker, As said earlier, Mrs. Henry successfully coordinated the implementation of Phase I of the project which saw the erection of a perimeter fence, the construction of two sight screens, the establishment of a scoreboard, the relaying of the pitch and the upgrading of the outfield. We have now embarked on Phase II of the project which has seen the allocation of J$2 million from the Constituency Development Fund. Under Phase II is the construction of a Pavilion. The construction of stands will commence, along with the building of a parking lot and a park. The intention is to create the first, first-class cricket facility in Portmore, enabling the Municipality
  5. 5. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 6 to host first-class matches, have a team at the national level, and serve as a ground on which touring teams can practice. Phase III will see the upgrading of the Watson Grove Football Field and the lighting of the facility to allow for night games. The facility will enhance the aesthetics of the area and provide an outlet for the positive engagement of young people in the business of sport. Mr. Speaker, We have submitted the Christian Pen Football and Sports Complex project to the Sugar Transformation Unit and are anticipating a favourable response. This is in furtherance of our commitment to develop proper sporting venues in the Constituency. In furtherance of this objective, we also had a tour of the Constituency by Mr. Denzil Wilks, Managing Director of the Sports Development Foundation, and have aligned the plans of the Constituency in this regard with the programme of the Foundation. We look forward to the implementation of the projects identified. During the course of this year, the New York City Police Department Cricket Team, whilst on tour to Jamaica, made a donation of cricket gears to the Gregory Park Primary School. Mr. Speaker, On the matter of Housing, we note the presentation of the Minister of Housing, the Honourable Member from Central Saint Mary, in his contribution to the Sectoral Debate, where he outlined that under the Local Improvement Community [Amenities] Act (LICA), “Scores of Jamaicans stand to benefit from upgrade as well”. In that vein, Mr. Speaker, the Minister announced that Cabinet agreed to the compulsory acquisition of two properties in Portmore Lane, Saint Catherine, that were declared under the LICA to facilitate the regularization of 105 occupants. Mr. Speaker, Portmore Lane is in my Constituency and this is welcome news for the residents who have had insecurity of tenure and inadequate infrastructure and inadequate facilities. This decision by the Cabinet of Jamaica is very important news in its implication for the improvement in the quality of lives of the residents. Equally, Mr. Speaker, we await the support of the Minister without portfolio, in the Ministry of Housing to bring to Cabinet the Portmore Villa Housing Project, which has been in gestation since May of last year. This project will see the construction of over 500 units in a mixed development never before seen in Jamaica. This will provide subsidized housing for informal settlers whilst simultaneously providing low income solutions for middle income and young professionals. Mr. Speaker, We look forward to the implementation of this project. It will in my view revolutionize housing and community development in the country.
  6. 6. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 7 Mr. Speaker, We are also encouraged by the assurances given to this House by the Honourable Minister of Transport, Work and Housing, the Member from Saint Andrew South, in relation to the Bernard Lodge Housing Development that will see the construction of over 1,600 units in Bernard Lodge and its environs. This project impacts East Central St. Catherine, as over 300 units will be constructed in the Constituency. Mr. Speaker, As a new Constituency which has 90 percent of the informal settlements in Portmore, I have a vested interest in the expeditious and efficient implementation of these housing projects, and have been making consistent representation to my colleague Ministers who have been very accommodating and for that I thank them. Related to the matter of Housing is the matter of community roads. On my previous two contributions, I have made the point, Mr. Speaker, that private developers too often short- change homeowners with substandard roads and the absence of amenities. Mr. Speaker, I could not have said it better than the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, the Member from South West Clarendon who said; “… it is the under-served network of parochial roads within communities that are the lifelines between families, communities and the rest of the social and public services. It is therefore obvious that new approaches with respect to the maintenance of these roads are now required.” Mr. Speaker, As a Member of Parliament who is afflicted with many community roads in deplorable condition, I welcome the acknowledgement by the Honourable Member that; “Ways to invest in road construction more efficiently” have to be found. I welcome the partnership between the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing in assessing road construction technologies with the interest of realizing value for money in the road sector. I welcome, Mr. Speaker, the decision by the Minister of Transport and Housing, the Member from Saint Andrew South, for allowing the use of concrete in the construction of roads or for any material, provided it meets the necessary specifications and is competitively priced. We in East Central Saint Catherine look forward to the roll out of Major Infrastructure Development Project (MIDP) in the Constituency. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister of State, the Member of Parliament from Clarendon North Western who toured my Constituency and saw first-hand the challenges being experienced as a result of the deplorable road conditions.
  7. 7. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 8 Mr. Speaker, As a Minister who gets things done, I look forward, in the near future, to improved road conditions in the Constituency of East Central Saint Catherine. The issue of roads, Mr. Speaker, is the single most urgent concern of the residents in East Central Saint Catherine. We are buoyed by the activities taking place in South East St. Catherine, because we are assured that help is on the way. Mr. Speaker, The Constituency of East Central Saint Catherine is open for the use of concrete to repair our roads and welcomes any pilot necessary in that regard to be conducted there. Mr. Speaker, Apart from roads, people want to know they are safe in their homes. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister of National Security, the Honourable Member from Central Manchester, and the Police High Command for rolling out in the Constituency of East Central Saint Catherine the proximity approach to policing. In 2013, we had five (5) homicides in the Lakes Pen, Lime Tree Grove communities of the Constituency. There were marauding gunmen operating with apparent impunity. Representation was made to the Minister and the Police High Command, whom I found responsive. Mr. Speaker, The proximity policing approach was deployed by placing police personnel on the ground and a mobile police unit was placed in the Lime Tree Grove community. I am pleased to announce, Mr. Speaker that since the deployment of the proximity policing approach in this area, the homicides have dropped from five in 2013 to one in 2014. Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the roll-out of this approach in the Portmore Gardens/Lane area of the Constituency where criminals have claimed several victims over the last three (3) years. I am aware that the police have stepped up activity in the area and that this has led to the interdiction of nine firearms and 2000 rounds of ammunition. Mr. Speaker, The proximity policing approach works and it is our duty as Members of Parliament to support this initiative. Mr. Speaker, Communities need Health Care Facilities and we in East Central Saint Catherine are awaiting the construction of two (2) health centres of excellence, through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the National Health Fund. We anticipate the construction of a Type Three Health facility in the Gregory Park Division during the course of this Financial Year. The existing clinic in Gregory Park is inadequate and is in need or relocation.
  8. 8. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 9 Mr. Speaker, In the area of Education, the Constituency continues to do well. The Naggo Head Primary School continues to make us proud. The school came second in the Primary Schools Championship this year and we renew our commitment to support its sports as well as academic programme. Under the JEEP initiative, Three Million Dollars was spent to make the Independence City Primary School friendly and accessible to students with special needs. We also upgraded the bathroom facilities of the school, reconstructed a section of the perimeter walls, and painted the school. The Constituency of East Central Saint Catherine now boasts a primary school and an academy, both of which are accessible to special needs students. Mr. Speaker, We have allocated over $5 million to Back to School support last year, assisting more than 1000 students at all levels of the system with books and tuition. We will continue the initiative this year. We are in dialogue with the Northern Caribbean University for the establishment of a Campus in the Constituency to enable greater access by the population of Portmore to tertiary level education. We hope that as early as next year this will become a reality. Mr. Speaker, We are pleased to announce that JEEP III is currently being executed in the Constituency with two sidewalk projects: one in the vicinity of the Cedar Grove Academy and the other in the vicinity of the Hamilton Gardens Cricket Oval. These two projects will employ over 300 persons bringing the total number employed under JEEP to approximately two thousand. Mr. Speaker, Kudos to the Minister of Land, Water, Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Member from North West Saint Catherine, for the Soapberry Sewer Improvement Project, which is set to get into high gear during this month. This $1.8 billion project will see the employment of hundreds of workers in the Constituencies of East Central, South East and South Saint Catherine. This is the second mega project that the Honourable Minister has deployed in the Municipality of Portmore, improving the lives of the residents in all three constituencies. I salute him as the Member of Parliament for one of these constituencies, which has been and will be positively impacted by this significant injection of development capital. Mr. Speaker, The Housing Sector provides significant prospects for development and employment opportunities which I referred to earlier. If these projects could be fast tracked, there would be near full employment in Portmore and its environs based on the demand for labour and other skills. This in turn would have a positive effect on local businesses by driving the demand for goods and services.
  9. 9. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 10 Mr. Speaker, Even the private sector is getting in on the action, and as the Member of Parliament, I welcome the investment of Restaurants of Jamaica Limited in the Constituency with the construction of a casual dining restaurant in Grange Lane. Mr. Speaker, Already the impact on employment is being felt as artisans, primarily from the West Cumberland community, are being given employment opportunities. Further, Mr. Speaker, the prospect for employment during the operation phase looms large. In this regard, I wish to thank the Acting Mayor, Councillor Leon Thomas and the Chief Administrative Officer, Miss Kerry Chambers and their team for expediting the approval process to allow this facility to advance to the implementation stage. Mr. Speaker, As an Administration, we must continue to do everything within our power to accelerate the implementation of projects, both private and public, which will drive the economy, drive demand, increase supply and deliver meaningful economic activity to our residents. Mr. Speaker, It is for this reason that the Portmore Agricultural Cooperative has been established to bring available land back into sugar cane production under the Sugar Expansion Initiative. I wish to commend the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, the Member from Westmoreland Central for his support in this regard. I am pleased to advise that land clearing has progressed and that provision is now being made for the actual planting. Mr. Speaker, We welcome in the Constituency the presence of Red Stripe which is conducting a pilot project in relation to the cultivation of cassava for the making of beer. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, this activity in the Constituency portends well for the agricultural base of the Constituency. Mr. Speaker, I call on the National Land Agency to conduct an audit of the parcels under lease for agricultural purposes to ensure that these parcels are being used as per the lease. Where it is found that there is under-utilization or no utilization, appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that the land is put to productive use. Mr. Speaker, On the matter of training, I am pleased to report that the Constituency is Logistics Hub ready. In collaboration with the Maritime Institute of Jamaica, over 500 persons participated in the Logistics 101 Course. Mr. Speaker, It is not lost on East Central Saint Catherine that the much touted Caymans Special Economic Zone will be contiguous to the Constituency.
  10. 10. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 11 In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have made representation to the Minister with portfolio responsibility for Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Honourable Member for Saint Andrew Western that Portmore be incorporated as an active part of this Special Economic Zone, as several related activities will take place in Portmore, such as the Contact Centres and also education and training for the Hub. Portmore ought not to be considered a dormitory community going forward. Mr. Speaker, In collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Portmore Self-Help Disability Foundation has received $5 million from JICA to train over 80 persons with disabilities. This training exercise is being coordinated through the HEART Trust-NTA and Mr. Oniel Jones, Consultant to the Project. Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the Honourable Minister, the Member from Saint James West Central for his support in this regard. We wish to thank the Government of the people of Japan, in particular Ambassador Yasuo Takase. Mr. Speaker, Under the Sugar Transformation Programme, we have submitted 60 candidates for training in tractor operation, housekeeping, small appliance repair, and entrepreneurship, among other areas. We wish to thank the Minister of Agriculture and indeed the European Union, Her Excellency Mrs. Paola Amadei, Head of Delegation, for providing the funding to undertake these training exercises. Mr. Speaker, In the coming days we will formally open the 184th Community Access Point at the Victory Open Bible Church in Lime Tree Grove. This brings to three the number in the Constituency. It is our hope that this centre will be able to offer training in Animation. We intend to also establish an Animation Studio in Watson Grove during this financial year. On Labour Day this year the National Project which was a Solar Park treating with Climate Change reflected a twin of the City of Hagen in Germany and the Municipal of Portmore. For this, we express gratitude to the Government and People of Germany through Ambassador Josef Beck. Special mention also of Her Excellency Mrs. Mathu Joyini, High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa who shared in the Labour Day activities. Mr. Speaker, As a Member of Parliament I have been working! Working! Working! In the interest of my Constituents, and I am not perturbed by the attempts on that side to pad the voters’ list or the attention that they have been placing on the Constituency of East Central Saint Catherine because as a tree planted by the river, the people of East Central Saint Catherine shall not remove me.
  11. 11. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 12 GLOBAL OVERVIEW Mr. Speaker, In the last twelve months, the world has witnessed unprecedented and far-reaching socio- economic and political changes which have influenced the way foreign relations are conducted. Changes to which Jamaica, as a member of the international community, must respond in accordance with our National Pledge, by playing our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race. Jamaica, as a small island, has never allowed the shifting global environment to cause us to fear, or to doubt that our contribution to the international community is significant. We do not waver in our determination to ensure that Jamaica indeed becomes the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. Mr. Speaker, As we continue to address our minds to the kind of Jamaica that we wish to create, we must be cognisant of the many factors at play, which, if properly managed, will serve to ensure our success. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade takes seriously its mandate to participate actively in various international fora in order to advance Jamaica’s welfare. We continue to build on the respect and recognition gained by Jamaica in the international community. We are determined that Jamaica’s profile on the global stage is not only maintained, but enhanced. Over the last twelve months, we have been successful in our bid for a vice-chairmanship in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); membership of the World Heritage Council; and have been returned for a third term to the Executive Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Mr. Speaker, The United Nations World Trade Organization and the International Migration Organization are international bodies, whose work are of significance to Jamaica, given the value of tourism to our GDP, 6.4 percent in 2012, and the increasing importance of shipping and other maritime activities in our development plans. The drive to position Jamaica as the fourth global logistics node could only be considered because of our favourable geographic location. We understand only too well the significance of the maritime space for our sustenance, and the influence it has on our lives and livelihood. We are keenly aware that we cannot afford to be absent from the table when rules, regulations and standards for traversing this space are being elaborated. Mr. Speaker, There is a popular advertisement here in Jamaica which says, ‘if you don’t have a ticket, you don’t have a chance’. This is applicable in the pursuit of our foreign policy. If we don’t have a ticket, we don’t have a chance!
  12. 12. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 13 TRADE RELATIONS Mr. Speaker, We have been vigorously pursuing the trade agenda, which is critical to Jamaica achieving the goals of Vision 2030. As evidence of our commitment in this area, the Ministry has made it a priority to ensure that meetings whose outcome will have far-reaching implications for Jamaica’s development agenda are appropriately serviced. African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Relations In October 2013, I led Jamaica’s delegation to two (2) meetings in Brussels, Belgium: (i) The 17th African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group Ministerial Trade Committee; and (ii) The 12th Joint African, Caribbean Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) Ministerial Trade Committee. The first meeting addressed a number of important issues relating to the trade relations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific and the European Union. Some of the issues discussed included the status and future perspectives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), European Union trade negotiations with third countries, and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group’s preparations for the 9th Session of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO). With respect to the latter, African, Caribbean and Pacific Ministers considered and adopted the African, Caribbean and Pacific Declaration on the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. This document sets out the Group’s positions on the three (3) main areas which were addressed at the Conference, namely trade facilitation, agriculture and development. It should be noted that the work on the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Declaration was spearheaded by Jamaica in its capacity as Coordinator of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group in the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. The meeting also finalized an African, Caribbean and Pacific Group Communiqué on the Ministerial Conference. Jamaican Delegation at ACP The African, Caribbean and Pacific Declaration, which was circulated among the documents for the Conference, provided the framework for the Group’s participation at the 9th Session of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC9).
  13. 13. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 14 Mr. Speaker, I will speak in some detail about the World Trade Organization (WTO) 9th Ministerial Conference (MC9) later in my presentation. The second meeting provided African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, including Jamaica, with the opportunity to raise directly with the European Union (EU) concerns regarding certain specific issues affecting ACP-EU trade relations. These include the potentially negative impact of the various free trade agreements (FTAs) being negotiated by the European Union with third countries; the erosion of preferences and competitiveness of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) exports to the European Union (EU); non-tariff barriers facing certain African, Caribbean and Pacific exports; the difficulties being faced by certain African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, particularly the African countries, in negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs); and commodity issues. With respect to the latter, I made a statement drawing attention to Jamaica’s concerns regarding the EU’s decision to end its sugar production quotas and to introduce EU country of origin labelling requirements for sugar. Both these measures will have the effect of making sugar exports to the European Union (EU) less attractive from small suppliers, such as Jamaica. I also used the opportunity provided to emphasise to the EU efforts being undertaken in Jamaica to ensure the continued viability of the sugar sector, particularly given the multifunctional role that this sector plays in the economy and its contribution to employment and export earnings. World Trade Organization (WTO) Mr. Speaker, It was also my privilege to have led Jamaica’s delegation to the 9th Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC9) held from 3rd – 7th December 2013, in Bali, Indonesia. I had the good fortune to work with Ministers and senior officials of other WTO Members to secure a successful outcome to the Conference. I wish to highlight, Mr. Speaker, how important it was for WTO Members to achieve a positive outcome at this particular Ministerial Conference. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations was launched in 2001 at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference held in Doha, Qatar. Twelve years later, there had been an inability to gain any results. It was imperative, therefore, that this cycle of failures be broken. Some success had to be achieved in Bali in order to provide much needed impetus for concluding the Doha Round and for enhancing the credibility of the WTO as a global rules- making institution.
  14. 14. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 15 WTO Members, including Jamaica, expressed their collective desire for a successful outcome and worked tirelessly to achieve this objective. I am pleased to state that we did, and in so doing restored a measure of faith in the multilateral trading system. Mr. Speaker, The Ministerial Conference focused primarily on those areas of the Doha Round negotiations where it was felt that agreement could be reached at Bali, namely trade facilitation and certain elements of the negotiations on agriculture and development. After four days of intensive, round-the-clock negotiations, the 9th Session of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference (MC9) ended successfully with the adoption of the Bali Ministerial Declaration which concluded the negotiations on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation and contained negotiated outcomes in certain elements of the negotiations on Agriculture and Development. The conclusion to the Ministerial Conference also resulted in a number of ‘‘firsts’’ for the Organization: • The Bali Package was the first set of results in the Doha Round negotiations; • MC9 was the most successful Ministerial Conference held since the launch of the Doha Round; and • The Agreement on Trade Facilitation, the centrepiece of the Bali Package, was the first multilateral trade agreement concluded since the establishment of the WTO. It was also a first for the new Director-General of the WTO, Ambassador Roberto Azevédo of Brazil. Mr. Speaker, although this outcome represents only a small part of the Doha Round, it must be viewed as having profoundly positive implications, particularly in terms of providing the momentum to unblock other areas of the Doha negotiations. It also has significant implication for global trade as it is felt that Trillion of Dollars will be unlocked as a result, thus spurning on the global recovery. The Financial Times gave this outcome front page prominence, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to highlight the important role that Jamaica played during the Geneva preparatory process leading to the 9th Session of the Ministerial Conference and at the Conference itself. Jamaica was highly commended for the key role we played as African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Coordinator, both at the technical and ambassadorial levels in Geneva, and at the Ministerial level in Bali. Under Jamaica’s stewardship, the ACP Group worked closely with other Members to reach consensus on a number of outstanding issues, which had proven difficult leading up to the Conference in Bali. We were instrumental in paving the way for concluding the negotiations on the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
  15. 15. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 16 During the Bali preparatory process, we were able to secure accord on the special and differential treatment provisions of the Agreement, marking an end to several years of deadlock on this aspect of the Agreement. World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation Mr. Speaker, I wish to focus briefly on the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which is of particular relevance to Jamaica. The objective of the Agreement is to ensure the implementation of transparent, consistent and predictable procedures and practices at the border aimed at reducing transaction costs and improving the national trading environment. Trade facilitation is a key component in improving Jamaica’s national trading environment and international competitiveness. Mr. Speaker, I now wish to provide some information on the Agreement. Section I of the Agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods in World Trade Organization (WTO) Member States. Section II of the Agreement contains the special and differential treatment provisions for developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs). This section details the flexibilities accorded to these two groups of countries. All developing countries, including Jamaica, will be able to determine the pace of implementation of the Agreement. Implementation will be closely linked to the extent and timing of implementing commitments on the one hand and a country’s legal, technical and physical capacity to implement on the other hand. The developing countries and the Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) will be able to obtain technical, financial and capacity building assistance from donor countries and donor agencies to assist them in implementing the Agreement. A World Trade Organization (WTO) Preparatory Committee has been established to oversee the entry into force of the Agreement. Over the coming weeks, the Committee will focus on drafting the Protocol of Amendment to insert the Trade Facilitation Agreement into Annex IA of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement. This annex contains all the WTO Agreements relating to multilateral trade in goods. Once finalized and adopted, the Protocol will be open until 31st July 2015, for the acceptance of WTO Members. The Agreement will enter into force when it has been ratified by two thirds of the WTO membership.
  16. 16. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 17 A National Committee on Trade Facilitation has been established and will be responsible for national consultations and coordination relating to the implementation of the Agreement. The Committee chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade comprises representatives of the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Trade Board Limited, the Jamaica Customs Agency, the Ministry of Finance and Planning and JAMPRO. The public and private sector partnership was critical in this exercise as was the role of the Jamaica Customs Agency. Mr. Speaker, I recently participated in the WTO-sponsored National Needs Assessment Exercise which was held from 26th – 29th May 2014, here in Kingston. The objective of the exercise was to identify Jamaica’s needs and priorities in those areas in which technical, financial and capacity-building will be required to assist in implementing the Agreement. The outcome of the exercise will provide the basis for determining Jamaica’s implementation of the Agreement, including those provisions that will be implemented immediately upon its entry into force. The WTO should be advised of these provisions before the end of July 2014. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Post–Bali Work Programme Mr. Speaker, The Bali Ministerial Declaration also mandated the development of a post-Bali Work Programme to address the outstanding issues in the Doha Round to be completed by the end of 2014. Work is currently underway in the WTO on the approach to be adopted in order to reinvigorate the other areas, such as agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA) and services, on which there has been no agreement. This is a significant challenge as these three areas have been the most contentious throughout the negotiations.
  17. 17. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 18 ENGAGEMENT WITH THE JAMAICAN DIASPORA State Minister Arnaldo Brown addressing Opening Ceremony at 2013 Jamaica Diaspora Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Mr. Speaker, As you are aware, with approximately 2.7 million Jamaicans residing overseas, the engagement of the Jamaican Diaspora in national development has become an important aspect of Jamaica’s Foreign Policy. It is undeniable that over the years, the engagement of the Diaspora has proven invaluable to the Government and people of Jamaica. Most recently, their commitment to the homeland was demonstrated in their lobbying efforts to ensure the more fair application of the United Kingdom (UK) Air Passenger Duty. It will be recalled that under the current UK tax regime, Jamaica and other CARICOM countries were classified under Band C, which calls for the payment of higher air passenger duty rates to the Caribbean, as against other destinations of equivalent distance, which were classified in Band B. The implementation of this duty has had an understandably negative effect on the tourism industry, with decline in employment being a major factor. Mr. Speaker, Thanks to the combined efforts of the Jamaican and Caribbean Diasporas in the UK, the dedicated staff of the Jamaican High Commission in London, and tourism partners, including the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) among others, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget presentation of 17th March 2014, that the Caribbean region would be moved from Band C to Band B as of April 2015. This move will place the region in the same category as travellers to the United States of America, thereby removing any hint of discriminatory taxation.
  18. 18. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 19 Our Commonwealth partners must also be recognized, as the campaign was extended by Jamaica and fellow CARICOM countries to other members of the Commonwealth, which provided support to our efforts. I would like to use this opportunity also to thank the members of the private sector for their continued support in this regard, particularly the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), which contributed over Twenty Thousand Pounds (£20,000.00) to the campaign. This, indeed, is indicative of the tremendous strides which can be made when public-private partnerships are effectively engaged. While we rightly celebrate this breakthrough, the region considers this only the first step in our quest to have the tax further reduced or preferably eliminated altogether, as it remains a serious disincentive to travel to our region. This is the message that we communicated to the UK at the recently held UK-Caribbean Forum in London, June 13 – 15, 2014. Mr. Speaker, The Diaspora has also demonstrated its unswerving loyalty to Jamaica through tangible contributions in cash and kind to a number of sectors, including education, healthcare, sports and community development. It is for these and other reasons that the Government has put in place mechanisms and structures to strengthen the relationship with the Diaspora. One such mechanism is the biennial Diaspora Conference. 5th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference Mr. Speaker, The last Biennial Conference was held 16th - 20th June 2013, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre under the theme, “A Nation on a Mission: Jamaica-Diaspora Partnership for Development”. The Conference was rebranded with an increased focus on business, trade and investment. Philanthropy, social investment and Diaspora Diplomacy were also areas covered during the Conference. Mr. Speaker, The 5th Biennial Conference was the largest to date. Approximately 1,512 participants were in attendance, including a significant number from the traditional Diaspora countries of the United Kingdom, Canada and the USA, as well as from locations further afield, such as Malawi and the United Arab Emirates. This, indeed, demonstrates that our engagement efforts are bearing fruit and reaching a wider audience.
  19. 19. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 20 A section of the US delegation at the 2013 Jamaica Diaspora Conference Mr. Speaker, The Conference produced a range of tangible outcomes, which can only serve to further strengthen the relationship and the development of Jamaica. Among these are: • The establishment of a Diaspora Conference Implementation Council, comprising public and private sector entities. This body has been charged with responsibility for developing an Action Plan to implement the recommendations stemming from the Conference and monitoring the work to be undertaken by the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); • The elaboration of plans to host a Health Forum, 9th - 12th July 2014, in Toronto, Canada by members of the Jamaican Diaspora living in that country; • The creation by the Ministry of Health of an Advisory Body on Diaspora Affairs, chaired by Mr. Victor Cummings, to streamline medical missions; • The creation of a network of liaison officers, both at home and in the principal Diaspora locations of UK, Canada and the US, to streamline the provision of healthcare resources to public hospitals in Jamaica; • Diaspora Youth Connect launched in October of last year. 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference Mr. Speaker, Planning for the 6th Biennial Diaspora Conference, which will be held during the period 14th - 18th June 2015 in Montego Bay, are currently underway. Members of the Diaspora have been notified of the date. A preliminary Agenda has already been developed. Mr. Speaker, We anticipate that this Conference will attract even greater support. Plans include an expanded Marketplace with live events nightly. It is our hope that these events will bring together not only the members of the Diaspora, but also Returned Residents, friends of Jamaica, as well as members of the local community. I am pleased to announce that the Diaspora Conference will be placed on the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment’s 2015 calendar of events – rebranded.
  20. 20. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 21 Symposium on Immigration and Deportation Mr. Speaker, An inaugural International Symposium on Immigration and Deportation will be held on 18th June 2015, the designated Day of Service of the 6th Biennial Diaspora Conference. This Symposium, which will take the form of workshops, will seek to address some of the challenges being faced by the global Jamaican Diaspora in the areas of Immigration and deportation. Education Summit Mr. Speaker, Earlier this year, the Jamaican Diaspora Education Taskforce, in partnership with a number of stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and the Jamaica Teachers Association, convened an Education Summit under the theme: “Advancing Education Initiative: A Strategic Alliance with the Diaspora”. The Summit examined ways to improve education in Jamaica, identified projects for Diaspora support, and looked at areas of duplication, gaps and means of leveraging past successes. The Summit also served to examine the feasibility of a Diaspora Six-Year Plan of support for the transformation of the education sector. A commitment was also made to raise US$20 million for the sector. Diaspora Policy Mr. Speaker, This Government recognises that interface and interaction with the Diaspora must be done within a stable and predictable framework. To that end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, along with other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and the private sector, have been working on the elaboration of a Diaspora and Development Policy, to give greater effect to our mandate to protect the interest of our nationals overseas. The policy aims, among other things, to: • Define the role of the Jamaican Diaspora in development; • Establish appropriate governance systems, mechanisms and processes to facilitate engagement between Jamaica and its Diaspora, and among members of the Diaspora; • Promote the involvement of the Jamaican Diaspora in enhancing Jamaica’s culture, image and profile aboard. Mr. Speaker, Steps are being taken to activate the Parliamentary Committee on Diaspora matters and the first order of business will be the examination of the Diaspora and Development Policy.
  21. 21. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 22 Diaspora Mapping Mr. Speaker, All of this is important if we are to maximize the potential of the Jamaican family overseas and encourage their participation in nation-building. We know too well that lack of empirical data on the number of Jamaicans residing in the Diaspora has stymied our efforts at effective planning for Diaspora engagement. In this regard, we have collaborated with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to undertake a mapping exercise, which on completion will create a database of Jamaicans worldwide, who are interested in contributing to nation-building through philanthropic endeavours, whether in cash or kind, and investments, as well as to match the skill sets in the Diaspora with the needs that exist in Jamaica for technical and other expertise. I am pleased to announce that the mapping survey project was launched at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on 10th June 2014, and in Birmingham, UK, on 13th June 2014, on the 17th of June 2014, where we picked up the important endorsement of our original and beloved Sprint Queen, Merlene Ottey. She has pledged her full support in promoting the initiative. Sprint legend Merlene Ottey endorsing the Diaspora Mapping Project, alongside State Minister, Arnaldo Brown. We welcome such endorsements from our sportsmen, entertainers, corporate citizens, members of the clergy and other sector leaders. Mr. Speaker, On return to Jamaica, television interviews concerning the project were carried on Smile Jamaica, TVJ, on the 24th June 2014 and on CVM at Sunrise on the 25th June 2014. On both occasions, I was supported by Mrs. Rukiya Brown, a second generation Jamaican born in Birmingham, UK, married to a Jamaican, now living in Jamaica and working with the International Organization for Migration.
  22. 22. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 23 Mr. Speaker, The mapping exercise will be conducted over a period of eighteen months, and will take the form of an online survey geared towards identifying the location, skills, expertise and interests of members of the Jamaican Diaspora. We are hoping that over the eighteen-month period at least one hundred thousand Jamaicans will sign up. Mr. Speaker, I, therefore, invite and encourage all Jamaicans overseas to participate in this survey and to join in nation-building. CONSULAR ISSUES Mr. Speaker, With due regard to the link between Diaspora engagement and consular relations, the Ministry has been developing strategies to ensure coherence in our approach to these separate but related areas of responsibility. We are cognisant that as the Ministry establishes mechanisms to engage Jamaicans abroad in national development, we must at the same time seek to ensure that they are provided with the requisite services that can assist in their protection and general well-being. Despite limited resources, Mr. Speaker, the Ministry has been successful in fulfilling its mandate, to protect the interests of Jamaica and Jamaicans overseas. At times, this requires swift action, especially when our nationals may be at risk due to political or civil disturbance in the country of residence. A case in point, Mr. Speaker, is the recent upheaval in the eastern states of Ukraine. Working out of our Embassy in Berlin, the Ministry was able to ensure that Jamaican medical students attending Khakiv National University were safely returned to Jamaica. In addition, in the past six months, the Ministry has spearheaded the return of Jamaican fishermen who were reported missing at sea. Nine fishermen were returned from Mexico; two were rescued by the Coast Guard of the Dominican Republic, and three fishermen and a spouse were repatriated from Cuba. I must state that the Embassies of Jamaica in Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic were instrumental in ensuring that the Jamaicans were adequately provided for by the host States. Unfortunately, these are recurring events and I want to assure the Jamaican public, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade responds to these issue in a systematic and professional manner at all times. Mr. Speaker, With the implementation of the CSME regime, particularly the provisions dealing with the movement of persons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has seen increasing demand for consular services from Jamaicans in various parts of the CARICOM region.
  23. 23. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 24 The Ministry has established mechanisms to receive and manage complaints from Jamaicans who were not accepted as bona-vide visitors to our sister CARICOM countries. Mr. Speaker, I wish to assure the members of this Honourable House that all complaints received from affected Jamaicans have been referred to the relevant authorities throughout the region with a request that the refusals be investigated or additional information provided. In addition, Jamaica has sought to utilize the complaints mechanisms of the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED). Mr. Speaker, I must also highlight a number of other consular services provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Authentication of documents, such as birth, marriage and business certificates, plays an important role in ensuring that Jamaicans are able to conduct business in other countries, as well as complete settlement requirements overseas. There are times when we are called upon to assist in the location of loved ones overseas and to reunite family members throughout the Diaspora. ENVIRONMENTAL AND MARITIME ISSUES Small Island Developing States Mr. Speaker, As you are no doubt aware, 2014 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The Third International Conference on SIDS will be held in Apia, Samoa on 1st – 4th September this year. Jamaica has been actively engaged in the preparatory process and will be represented at a high level at the Conference. We are conscious, Mr. Speaker, that the challenges faced by Small Island Developing States cannot be effectively addressed by individual countries trying to shape their own small corner of the globe. Challenges such as the effects of climate change, the impact of disasters and even the deleterious consequences of the global economic and financial crises require global partnerships and action to mitigate their impact. This Conference and the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, to be held in Sendai, Japan, next year, afford us an opportunity to develop genuine and durable partnerships for sustainable development; to address the full range of challenges facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS); and bring about lasting and transformative solutions to support national efforts.
  24. 24. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 25 SIDS challenges are global and immediate and it is imperative that these are addressed with urgency and renewed political and financial support of the international community, if we are to ensure sustainability of our communities and livelihood. Mr. Speaker, Jamaica recently assumed the chairmanship of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) for two years, 2014 – 2016. On 23rd – 25th April 2014, Jamaica hosted the Twenty-Fifth Session of the CDCC and the Third Meeting of the Caribbean Development Roundtable (CDR) here in Kingston. The Caribbean Development Roundtable is a valuable forum for fostering strategic thinking and stimulating the consideration of policy options to address critical Caribbean development challenges, and is a mechanism for forging partnerships between Latin America and the Caribbean through dialogue and engagement. The CDR was held under the theme “Exploring strategies for sustainable development and growth in Caribbean SIDS”. Among the conclusions and recommendations emanating from both meetings were: the need to secure partnerships to advance SIDS issues, including the eradication of poverty and inequality, and advocacy for inclusion of alternative indicators of development in addressing the vulnerabilities of SIDS. Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson QC, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, addresses the Economic Commissions for Latin America and the Caribbean’s (ECLAC’s) Third Meeting of the Caribbean Development Round Table at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel yesterday (Wednesday, April 23). I led Jamaica’s delegation to the 35th Session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Lima, Peru, on 5th – 9th May 2014, where I had the opportunity to present, to the wider Latin American community, the findings from the Third CDR and the 25th Session of the CDCC. My key message was the importance of integrating the priorities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) into the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
  25. 25. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 26 Mr. Speaker, It is my view that Jamaica should offer to host future Sessions of the Organization of American States General Assembly, we should offer to host future Sessions of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Mr. Speaker, Jamaica should offer to host the Summit of the Americas. We have pristine facilities in Montego Bay, even in Kingston. This should be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment. These conferences can assist the profile of the country and bring well needed exposure to the versatility of the island. I have said so internally, and I am saying so here in this Honourable House. National Council on Oceans and Coastal Zone Management (NCOCZM) Mr. Speaker, You are aware that the National Council on Oceans and Coastal Zone Management (NCOCZM) plays a critical role in the governance of the maritime sector. As part of its work plan for the Fiscal Year 2014-2015, the Council has agreed to focus on two key areas: Jamaica’s blue economy and the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. Currently, the international community is engaged in discussions on the need for a new implementing agreement on the protection and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. A regional workshop for CARICOM States was held in Jamaica from 20th - 21st May 2014, to consider the scope, parameters and feasibility of a proposed new implementing agreement, under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Marine genetic resources (including access and benefit sharing), Area Based Management Tools, Marine Protected Areas, Environmental Impact Assessments, Capacity-building and Technology Transfer were issues examined during the workshop. The Council will also be paying close attention to the development of hydrographical services in Jamaica. We are conscious, Mr. Speaker, that interaction with the blue economy requires that navigation is conducted in a safe environment. Consequently, the production of correct and up-to-date shipping charts is crucial. The importance of this to Jamaica cannot be overstated as the majority of our trading activities are done by way of the sea. In addition, with the development of the logistics hub, an increase in the amount and type of seafaring vessels traversing Jamaica’s maritime space is expected.
  26. 26. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 27 I am pleased to announce that arrangements are in place for the continued development of the country’s hydrographic capacity. Our affiliation with the International Hydrographic Organization, as well as with other maritime states, which have provided technical training, has contributed to this development. Maritime Delimitation Negotiations As we continue to position ourselves to take advantage of the living and non-living resources in our maritime zones, we recognize that the conclusion of maritime delimitation treaties with our neighbours is important for the country, as these provide much needed legal certainty for any planned activities, including the exploration and exploitation of the living and non-living resources that Jamaica will undertake in a defined maritime space. To date, we have concluded delimitation agreements with Colombia and Cuba, and, during this fiscal year, will be negotiating with Honduras, Haiti and the Cayman Islands. You will appreciate, Mr. Speaker, that without defined maritime boundaries, which give legal effect to the exercise of our right to explore and exploit the resources of our territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, we are at a disadvantage in attracting potential investors. International Seabed Authority (ISA) Jamaica is host to the Headquarters International Seabed Authority (ISA), the only international organisation in the region, and one of only two in the developing world. This year marks the Twentieth Anniversary of the establishment of the ISA. During the Annual Session of the Assembly and Council of the Authority on 14th – 25th July 2014, a commemorative ceremony, which should be attended by the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, will be held. The Ministry will also use the opportunity of this milestone to further sensitize the Jamaican populace to the importance of the work of the Authority and the benefits to be derived from this. After 20 years, the promise of mining the deep sea has become a reality. The Authority has now come into an exciting phase of its work. As you must realise, Mr. Speaker, small countries, such as Jamaica, must position themselves to be a part of this endeavour and to make sure that the vision of the framers of the Convention for this last global frontier to be the common heritage of mankind becomes a reality. All countries must benefit from the vast resources of the ocean. THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA (G77) Mr. Speaker, This year 2014, marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Group of 77 & China, which since its inception in 1964, continues to be a formidable interlocutor with the countries of the North, advancing new ideas and solutions to the challenges that beset our countries, as
  27. 27. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 28 well as supporting efforts at South–South, North-South and triangular cooperation. It is the most enduring group of developing countries concerned essentially with development issues. Jamaica’s Participation in the G77 Mr. Speaker, At the international level, Jamaica has maintained that relations among states must be undertaken with mutual respect and in a manner conducive to equitable economic development. As such, through Jamaica’s active membership of the Group of 77 & China, we have sought to promote dialogue with like-minded developing countries and to enhance the profile of the South in the international community. Jamaica’s membership in the G77 has also enabled us to establish common positions and speak with a unified voice on issues of critical importance to the economic and social wellbeing of our people. Our common lobbying efforts have sought to ensure that the international environment will continue to favour development, and in this respect, that decisions taken in various UN fora are compatible with our own development objectives. Membership of the G77 also affords Jamaica a place for strategic lobbying for positions in important international bodies, such as the International Court of Justice. As you are aware, Mr Speaker, our own Judge Patrick Robinson is vying for a seat in this prestigious body. Jamaica has chaired the G77 & China twice over the last thirty (30) years, holding its first chairmanship between 1977 and 1978 under the leadership of the Most Honourable Michael Manley. SOUTH–SOUTH COOPERATION Mr. Speaker, Jamaica has consistently maintained that engagement with like-minded countries, particularly countries of the South, which have had, or are having similar development challenges would redound to our benefit. The emergence of former recipients of aid, particularly from the South, such as Brazil, India, China, South Africa, the Republic of Korea and Turkey, as development partners providing assistance offers tremendous opportunities for the deepening of South–South Cooperation with the sharing of knowledge, expertise and expansion of economic and technical cooperation. South–South cooperation, within Latin America in particular, has been increasing. From 2006 – 2009, nearly 80 percent of South–South cooperation was sponsored by Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. This type of cooperation will assume even greater relevance and importance in the future, as the traditional sources of official development aid (ODA) decrease, often as a result of concentration on least developed countries.
  28. 28. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 29 In this new dispensation Jamaica can also provide assistance and support as we have done in the case of Haiti. Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to state that notwithstanding the current global trend, Jamaica’s traditional development partners, the EU, the UK, US and Canada, have been consistent in their support of our development goals, and I wish to publicly express our appreciation for their commitment to Jamaica. Mr. Speaker, As you are aware, Jamaica is classified as a middle income developing country and as such has limited access to concessionary loans and grants. The presence of increased numbers of potential development partners, particular from the South, is therefore a welcome development. International Conference on Development Cooperation: Mr. Speaker, It is with this in mind that I participated in the recently held “International Conference on Development Cooperation: Trends and Emerging Opportunities – Perspectives of the New Actors” in Istanbul, Turkey, from 19th – 20th June 2014. The Conference was aimed at critically assessing the changing dynamics of the international development cooperation landscape, and the potential for increased collaboration with new and emerging actors. Of particular importance was the increasing presence of non-state actors, and non-traditional development cooperation donors from the South. Host country, Turkey, itself has steadily improved its economic situation to become one of the biggest emerging actors on the development cooperation scene and provider of South-South cooperation.  Last year, its developing cooperation activities were in the region of US3 billion up from the previous year of US$2.7 billion. I had the opportunity during the High Level Segment on Changing Development Cooperation Architecture and the Special Plenary Session on Small Island Developing States and the role of the South in Financing Sustainable Development, to raise awareness and understanding of the fiscal and environmental challenges of Small Island Developing States, such as Jamaica. I also called on development partners to give special consideration to these needs when determining their development cooperation agendas. I wish to thank the UNDP for facilitating my participation and for supporting Jamaica’s efforts to advance the development interests of middle income countries and Small Island developing States. Special thanks to Dr. Arun Kashyap, Head of the United Nations Development Programme
  29. 29. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 30 (UNDP), Jamaica. We have extended an invitation to Ms. Helen Clarke, Administrator of the UNDP to pay an official visit to Jamaica. Mr. Speaker, I am heartened by the preparatory work for the establishment of a BRICS’ Development Bank and Currency Reserve. I eagerly await the outcome of the decisions to be taken regarding the proposed BRICS’ economic cooperation strategy, as well as the Development Bank at the upcoming Sixth Summit of the Bloc to be held in Fortaleza, Brazil, on 14th July. This augurs well for development cooperation and if the plans materialise, will allow developing countries, such as Jamaica, greater access to development funding. It will also represent an alternative mechanism to existing international financial institutions. Further, Mr Speaker, it is the stated intention of the BRICS to capitalize the Bank with US100 billion dollars to provide loans for development projects. THE CARIBBEAN AND AMERICAS REGION Mr. Speaker, Regional and hemispheric relations continue to be important to Jamaica, as we chart our way in the international arena. We have employed the principle of good neighbourliness and brotherhood as we interact with the countries of our hemisphere. We are active participants in regional and hemispheric organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), which accords us the opportunity to engage with other Governments of the Americas on a broad range of issues of common interest. Mr. Speaker, I had the honour to lead Jamaica’s delegation at the Forty-Fourth Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) held in Asuncion, Paraguay from 3rd – 5th June 2014, which focused on the theme “Development with Social Inclusion”. The Assembly adopted the Declaration of Asuncion, calling on Governments to “strengthen the capacity of the countries to withstand external shocks so that the progress made in the region in terms of eliminating hunger and poverty, especially extreme poverty, is sustainable”. Additionally, the Declaration encourages the OAS to incorporate the results of the Post-2015 Development Agenda in its programmes, projects and activities.
  30. 30. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 31 Mr. Speaker, The Meeting also afforded an opportunity to interface with the OAS Secretary-General, Mr. José Manuel Insulza, as well as the Deputy Secretary of State of the USA, Mr. William Burns, on important regional and hemispheric issues, inclusive of security, energy, human rights and democracy, as well as to ensure the continuation of critical technical and developmental assistance to Jamaica and other CARICOM countries.
  31. 31. SECTORAL DEBATE 2014 - HONOURABLE ARNALDO BROWN, MP 32 CONCLUSION Mr. Speaker, Jamaica’s profile in the international community is strong. We have earned the respect of countries the world over for our principled stand on issues of interest to the international community. We, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, have worked hard to ensure that while we pursue the best interest of Jamaica, we do not compromise our principles. We are committed to strengthening our presence in the world and in so doing to further enhance the image of Jamaica. This is not the time for us to be complacent. We do not have the luxury of only contemplating the severity of the challenges confronting our people. Ours, Mr. Speaker, is not the privilege to languish in ongoing analysis, while the opportunities that would allow us to go for Growth and Development for our people pass us by. We have been accorded this time and this space, so let us work to make a positive difference in the lives our people. We live in a dynamic and ever-changing world which forces countries to confront increasingly complex issues in international relations. We cannot afford to remain stationary. Even with limited resources, we must continue to make our mark on the international scene, continually raising the profile of Jamaica, while ensuring that all our endeavours redound to the benefit of Jamaica, Land We Love. Mr. Speaker, I thank you.

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