Jamaica Committed to the ACP – Prime Minister

Jamaica remains committed to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group and will continue to uphold its ideals, as it seeks to improve the lives of the millions of people that it represents.
This assurance was given by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on March 5, as she addressed the ACP Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels, Belgium. “I am very aware that we all share a common but powerful bond of history, kinship and lasting friendship, which has united our group for the past 30 years. Jamaica attaches great importance to its intra ACP relations,” the Prime Minister said. She noted that the ACP was now at an important crossroads, and that there was the danger of polarisation.
“How we respond to the challenges will determine whether or not this group continues to exist and increase its relevance,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said, adding that the Group’s response demanded real commitment to unity and solidarity, especially in light of the changing relationship with the European Union (EU). “If we are to influence the changes in our favour, the ACP must become more proactive and better prepared at all levels in our interaction with the EU,” she emphasized. The Prime Minister, who received a warm welcome from the ACP Ambassadors, said the ACP would be less than honest if it did not admit to the inadequacy of political dialogue and reluctance to engage in forthright discussions within the membership. “Jamaica is concerned that hot beds of tension and hostility within and between ACP states should be resolved as quickly as possible. It’s a simple fact, countries at war are not countries in development. Countries in conflict are undermining the development of their own people,” she said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller urged governments who are in conflict to seek durable solutions, using the ACP and other friendly states as well as regional organizations and the United Nations. The Prime Minister said the ACP should commit to ensure that the resources from all member states are used to the service of not only their own people, but also across the ACP states. “Indeed we are partners in development, linked by our shared commitment to the UN Charter, the Millennium Development Goals and the Cotonou-based relations with the EU,” she said. Mrs. Simpson Miller said there is need for continued ACP solidarity in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and that people of the ACP Group are multi- talented with the capacity to contribute effectively to the search for solutions to the global threats to peace, development and security. “We have the human resources which must be developed and effectively utilised to that end,” the Prime Minister stressed. Mrs. Simpson Miller, who left the island for Europe on March 1, is scheduled to return on March 9.

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