|Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh (left) congratulates Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Edwin Carrington (2nd right), who was awarded with the Commander of Number of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain, in recognition of his years of distinguished service to the region and the process of integration. Spanish Secretary of State for Latin America and the Caribbean, His Excellency Juan Pablo de Laiglesia (right), and former Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva (2nd left) presided over the ceremony, which was held in March 23.|
The Ministry of Foreign of Affairs and Foreign Trade, in 2010, continued its efforts to strengthen Jamaica’s relationship with its regional and global partners, while embarking on new initiatives to enhance the country’s diplomatic capacity in a changing world for the ultimate improvement in the quality of life of Jamaicans.
Regionally, Jamaica continued to forge closer ties and lasting relationships with its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) neighbours. In July, under the astute chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, the country hosted the 31st Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Montego Bay, St. James.
For the first time in its 37 year history, the Community welcomed as special guests, the Secretary General of the United Nations Banki Moon, and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Khan.
The conference addressed a number of critical matters, including the issue of governance. CARICOM Heads agreed to set up a special committee to undertake a review of proposals coming out of the meeting. The review was presented to the CARICOM Bureau and thereafter to a special meeting of Heads of Government in late September, with a view to its adoption at the Inter-Sessional meeting of Heads slated for February 2011.
|Jamaicaís Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), and Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, delivers her inaugural address to the Permanent Council of the OAS at its headquarters in downtown Washington DC on June 22.|
It was also decided that an Independent Review Team should be commissioned to undertake a comprehensive appraisal of regional institutional/associate institutions and the Secretariat, with a view to effectively rationalise their functions, funding and structures.
Jamaica continued its commitment to the implementation of its obligations under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), focusing on the areas, requiring further action and implementation under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, such as the facilitation the free movement of nationals between CARICOM States. The Ministry also participated in activities at improving public awareness among targeted groups such as students, civil society and at the institutional level.
The IV CARIFORUM-EU Summit was held in Madrid, Spain 17th May 2010, on the occasion of the VI Summit of Heads of State of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean. Jamaica’s delegation to the Summit was led by Minister of State, Senator Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte. The Summit facilitated fruitful discussions of a number of areas for increased CARIFORUM-EU relations and cooperation both in the wider ACP-EU context as well as within the framework of ongoing bi-regional cooperation.
|President of the Republic of Colombia, His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderon inspects the guard of honour on his arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on November 19 for a one-day State Visit.|
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh participated in the Second CARICOM-Japan, Ministerial Meeting which was held in Tokyo, Japan during the period 1st – 3rd September, 2010. The meeting concluded with the signing of an Agreement on the Framework for CARICOM-Japan Cooperation for the Twenty-First Century.
Jamaica responded with much alacrity to the Haitian earthquake tragedy, which occurred on January 12, resulting in over 250, 000 people and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Over 500 Jamaicans, including military, medical and technical personnel, selflessly contributed to the relief and recovery programme.
Jamaica was able to provide an air bridge to Haiti providing a vital logistical asset to many countries seeking to rush assistance to the Caribbean country. Jamaica and CARICOM partners remain fully committed to Haiti’s reconstruction and development.
Due to Jamaica’s close location and response to Haiti, United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, paid a brief stopover at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston, on her return trip to Washington after a fact-finding mission in Haiti.
|Jamaica's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, Anthony Johnson (right) is greeted by President of Ireland, Her Excellency Mary McAleese, when he visited her offices in Dublin on November 17 to officially present his credentials.|
She noted during talks with Prime Minister Golding and Dr. Baugh that Jamaica’s efforts would be pivotal to the recovery of Haiti, following the massive devastation caused by the earthquake. The US Secretary of State said she felt it was important to visit Jamaica and hold discussions with Prime Minister Golding.
Less than 10 months after the devastating earthquake, Haiti was again wrought by another disaster in October with the outbreak of the cholera epidemic. In mid November Prime Minister Golding announced that Jamaica stood ready to provide assistance to Haiti. This would include sending a medical team and supplies to Haiti to assist in the efforts to fight the cholera epidemic. These arrangements are being coordinated through the Office of the Prime Minister in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Jamaica Defence Force and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). The Government has donated two new water trucks, which were officially handed over by the Prime Minister to the Haitian representative in Jamaica on Friday 10th December 2010.
The Caribbean Community has also extended its support to Haiti, and has begun coordinating a rapid response to the Haitian “Needs List” for medical supplies and equipment to combat the disease. This regional response is being coordinated through the Bureau of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) and the Secretariat. Consideration is also being given to the provision of medical personnel. Jamaica, as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, will be the sub-regional focal point to channel the supplies and equipment from the region and beyond to Haiti.
During the course of last year, Jamaica also entered into an agreement with the Government of Brazil for the expansion and refurbishing of the Portmore branch of the HEART Trust/NTA in St. Catherine, worth approximately US$5 million. The project, which started in October, is expected to be completed within 24 months.
Brazil's National Industrial Training Service (SENAI) is providing the majority of the funding, with HEART/NTA contributing approximately $139,000 in cash and technical and management expertise.
State and Working Visits
During 2010, the Ministry also sought to strengthen Jamaica’s relations with its regional partners by extending invitations to the Heads of State of Trinidad and Tobago and Colombia.
Immediately following the Conference of the Heads, in response to an invitation from Prime Minister Golding, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar remained, in the island for a two-day working visit from July 8 to 9.
During the visit, bilateral talks were conducted in an atmosphere of friendship and cooperation, covering areas such as agriculture, energy, health, crime and security, free movement of persons and trade and investment including the agreement for the sale of Air Jamaica to Caribbean Airlines.
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar advised that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago would honour the agreement for Caribbean Airlines to take over the operations of Air Jamaica and announced that the brand name Air Jamaica would be maintained.
Both Prime Ministers underscored the importance of bilateral trade under the CARICOM Single Market and agreed on the need for the trade relations between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to develop on a mutually beneficial basis. In this regard, it was agreed to promote reciprocal visits of business delegations to explore opportunities and enhance economic linkages.
On Friday, November 19, President of the Republic of Colombia, His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, arrived in Jamaica for a one-day State Visit. During his visit, the President said he hoped to improve the relationship between his country and Jamaica, particularly in relation to the joint exploration for oil and gas and the fight against narcotics organized crime and terrorism.
He travelled to National Heroes Circle for a wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of South American liberator, Simon Bolivar and held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister at Jamaica House. The President also addressed the University of the West Indies (UWI) community.
At the invitation of Dr. Baugh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, His Excellency Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, paid an official visit to Jamaica from December 12 to 14.
The main purpose of the visit was to strengthen the bonds between Jamaica and Cuba based on the strong ties of friendship and cooperation that have characterized the relations between both countries. The visit provided an opportunity for a review of the bilateral relations and for the continuation of the high-level dialogue and collaboration between both countries.
Foreign Minister Rodriguez was received by the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Honourable Bruce Golding. They exchanged views on current political and economic developments in their respective countries, as well as on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Minister Rodriguez also visited the Institute of Jamaica, and the National Heroes’ Park where he, laid a wreath at the statue of the Cuban National Hero, General Antonio Maceo. He also toured the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Centre at the National Chest Hospital where he was able to view the screening of patients.
Jamaica, last year, established an Embassy in Kuwait City, the capital and largest city of the Arab emirate of Kuwait. His Excellency, Audley Rodrigues, High Commissioner to South Africa, was appointed Jamaica’s first Ambassador to Kuwait.
Dr. Baugh said the move was in keeping with the Government’s commitment to establishing a presence in the Middle East, which has had a significant impact on global affairs, as well as in the evolution of productive Jamaican/Kuwaiti veterans.
“Our two countries have cooperated on several initiatives at the multilateral level and implemented important bilateral cooperation projects,” he said. Jamaica established relations with Kuwait in 1974.
Jamaica also appointed a number of new High Commissioners and Ambassadors in 2010. In February, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, Ambassador to Mexico was appointed Jamaican High Commissioner to Canada.
The year also saw the appointment of businesswoman Audrey Marks as Jamaican Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, (OAS). She succeeded Ambassador Anthony Johnson who took up the post as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) in May.
Former cabinet minister and trade unionist, Clifton Stone, was also appointed Jamaica’s Ambassador to Venezuela in November. Ambassador Stone succeeded Ambassador Delrose Montague, who was reassigned to Mexico. Dr. Baugh also announced the appointment of career diplomat, Ambassador Wayne McCook as Jamaica’s new Permanent Representative to the United Nations and its Specialised Agencies in Geneva in early December.
The country also welcomed a number of new Ambassadors and High Commissioners in 2010. These include, Britain’s High Commissioner, His Excellency Howard Drake, who arrived in January.
United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Pamela Bridgewater, also assumed office in August. Jamaica also welcomed the Ambassador of Spain, Her Excellency Celsa Nuno in October and Her Excellency Mathu Joyini, High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa in December.
New non-resident Ambassadors last year were: His Excellency Zdenek Rozhold Slovak Republic, Ambassador His Excellency Daniel Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso; His Excellency Adisak Panupong, Kingdom of Thailand; His Excellency Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba, High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia; His Excellency Ranko Vilović, Republic of Croatia; Her Excellency Inci Tümay, Republic of Turkey; His Excellency David McField, Republic of Nicaragua; His Excellency Rachid Bladehane, Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria; His Excellency Dr. Palitha Tikiri Bandara Kohona, Republic of Sri Lanka; and His Excellency Stavros Loizides, Republic of Cyprus.
Building relations with the Diaspora remained a key focus of the Ministry in the year. Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte assumed responsibility for Diaspora Affairs.
She has been engaging the Diaspora during visits to North America and the United Kingdom. The Minister has also been paying attention to issues pertaining to relations between the European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) of which Jamaica is a member.
Plans are underway to stage the fourth biennial Diaspora conference In Jamaica following its postponement last year. June is being targeted as the likely date.
In September, the Diaspora Movement launched a web portal www.jamaicadisaporaconnect.com. The objective of the portal is to create social and business net works, provide information on projects in Jamaica, current events, topical issues, share knowledge, expertise and serve as a skills bank.
Former Executive Director of the Mona School of Business, Professor Neville Ying, was appointed Executive Director of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute and General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society Limited, Earl Jarrett, was appointed Chairman of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, succeeding the late Professor Rex Nettleford.
At the invitation of Canadian Prime Minister, Steven Harper Prime Minister Golding participated in the Summit of the Group of 8 highly industrialised countries in Muskoka, Canada on June 25. The meeting focused on security, specifically transnational organised crime.
The Prime Minister highlighted the socioeconomic context in which Jamaica and other CARICOM countries were confronting the security threats engendered by organised crime. He renewed the appeal to G8 leaders for assistance to tackle this problem. The Prime Minister emphasised that rooting out crime is not just a law enforcement exercise but must be seen as a major development issue.
In September, the Hon. Prime Minister led Jamaica’s delegation to the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly. During that time, the Hon. Prime Minister participated in the High Level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which assessed the rate of progress towards the achievement of the MDGS by the target date of 2015. The Hon. Prime Minister called for an emergency programme to re-energize the MDG agenda.
Minister Baugh participated in the five-year review of the Mauritius Strategy for the Implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States (SIDS) also held during the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly. That meeting focused on the specific challenges facing this vulnerable group of countries and called for more action on the part of the international community in addressing the specific needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS.
In December, Dr. Baugh led Jamaica’s delegation to the 16th meeting of the Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico. During this meeting, Jamaica emphasized the importance of adaptation as it seeks to cope with the impacts of climate change and climate induced natural disasters. Particular mention was made, in this context, to the importance of international agreement in particular on robust financing mechanisms, appropriate technology transfer and the provision of capacity building to enable developing countries, in particular SIDS, to adapt to climate change.
For the first time in its history, the Government of Jamaica invited a United Nations Special Rapporteur to visit Jamaica. Dr. Baugh said the unprecedented visit by the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, in March highlighted the government’s intention to be open and transparent.
In November, Jamaica also presented its report to the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. In presenting the report during the 9th Session of the Working Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 8, Minister of State, Senator Malahoo Forte, reiterated the commitment of the Government to the promotion and protection of the human rights of all its citizens and to the fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law.
The report highlighted Jamaica’s achievements as well as the challenges and constraints facing the country in its efforts to promote and protect human rights across a broad spectrum, including crime prevention and security strategies, justice reform initiatives, health and education, as well as women’s and children’s rights.
During the year, along with relevant ministries, agencies, and the productive sector, the Ministry pursued ongoing efforts, particularly in the international trading arena, to secure market opportunities and improve capacity and competitiveness, even while building partnerships, co-operation and collaboration with longstanding and new partners to ensure that Jamaica’s national interests and development were advanced for the benefit of all Jamaicans.
Dr. Baugh also called on the private sector to effectively utilise trade agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, noting that the Ministry was fully prepared to lend all necessary support to Jamaican enterprises in maintaining and achieving market access and providing information about these agreements and negotiations.
Jamaica continued its active engagement in trade negotiations and on trade issues generally, at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. The country maintained its full and active engagement in the WTO Doha Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, through which, along with other CARICOM and Small and Vulnerable Economies, it achieved agreement on provisions that take account of the development needs of countries like Jamaica. Jamaica’s six yearly Trade Policy Review is scheduled to take place at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 2011 and most of 2010 was utilized for the preparations for that event. This review is a transparency mechanism aimed at assisting WTO members in their implementation of the WTO Agreements.
At the regional level, Jamaica continued to participate with CARICOM in the Canada/CARICOM negotiations for a Trade and Development Agreement as well as in negotiations with the US for a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). In addition, Jamaica continued its active participation in the CARICOM Council for Trade and Development (COTED). Further, Jamaica sought to address bilaterally, trade disputes with its CARICOM partners. Worthy of note is that bilateral consultations were held between Senior Officials of the Governments of Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in Kingston, Jamaica, from 11 – 12 November, 2010, in which both sides have pledged their commitment to resolving problems which impede trade.
At the national level, bilateral consultations took place between Jamaica and the USA in August 2010. The first of its kind in many years, the consultations covered a wide array of trade issues of interest to both countries. Work also continued at the national level on the implementation of the CARIFORUM/EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the CSME. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade continued its outreach and consultations with stakeholders through the Jamaica Trade and Adjustment Team (JTAT).
Training Programmes were also held including one on Rules of Origin with the Government of Sweden and the CARICOM Secretariat and another on Sustainable Impact Assessments with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Trade.Com and the UWI. Further, it should be noted that with the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank, work began in September 2010 on the preparation of a National Aid for Trade Strategy for Jamaica.
As the country enters the New Year, Dr. Baugh said that increased focus will be placed on economic diplomacy, as the Government redoubles its efforts to find that path to sustainable development that can help break the cycles of poverty that feed moral social decay.
“We will strengthen our economic diplomacy in order to help steer Jamaica out of the grip of the global financial and economic crisis and lay a solid foundation for progress in the 21st century,” Dr. Baugh stated.