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Mr. President:I am honoured to make my first contribution to the State of the Nation Debate. Let me take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Prime Minister for the confidence that he has demonstrated in appointing me to the Senate as well as to the Ministry of Health, in the capacity of Parliamentary Secretary. I also thank my colleagues, on both sides of the Senate especially the more seasoned ones for their guidance over the last twelve months.
I pay tribute to Cabinet Minister, Honourable Rudyard Spencer for his stewardship of a challenging Ministry.
Mr. President:I must also commend you for the able way that you have presided over the business of the Senate.
A context of urgent action
Mr. President:It is a great privilege to rise in these Chambers and speak on behalf of the Jamaican people on an issue that has never captured the imagination of our people nor occupied a place of prominence in governance or policy making. Yet, there is no single area that poses such an unparalleled threat to human security, social justice and human development as does the misuse of the environment.
Mr. President:The issue of environment and sustainable development became a prominent item within the global community in 1992 (Rio Conference) and then in 2002 (World Summit on Sustainable Development) and most recently in 2007 since the publication of the Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Report of the IPCC has once again raised an alert for small island states such as Jamaica.
Mr. President:Sea level is expected to rise, leading to an increase in storm surges, erosion and other coastal hazards as is presently the case along Jamaica’s coastline. Global warming will also affect islands in terms of vital infrastructure, settlements and the sustainable livelihoods of communities mainly in the areas of health, agriculture, water-supply and tourism. Of special note, fresh water resources will be reduced by mid-century in the Caribbean as well as Pacific States.
Mr. President:We must put our people on alert from policymakers, parliamentarians, public and private sectors to private citizens. All indications point to a clear and present danger that threatens jurisdictions despite size, economy or geography.
Mr. President :I will share some undisputed facts with you which make a compelling case for urgent action.
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