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Mr. Chairman, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let me begin by expressing my sincere pleasure and satisfaction at being in Havana for this my first Non Aligned Summit since becoming Prime Minister of Jamaica. It is also the first time that a female Prime Minister from Jamaica will have the opportunity to address the Non Aligned Movement.
I take the opportunity to congratulate the Government of the Republic of Cuba for the very smooth and excellent arrangements put in place for the Summit and for the very warm hospitality extended to me and members of the Jamaican delegation since our arrival.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to express the Government of Jamaica’s regret at the unavoidable absence of President Fidel Castro Ruz, who we know was looking forward to greeting and warmly welcoming his colleague Heads of State and Government, as well as to chair the Summit proceedings, but who could not join us on this occasion, because of ill health.
I extend best wishes on behalf of the Government and People of Jamaica for President Castro’s speedy recovery and return to good health.
We are confident, however, that under the experienced and wise leadership of acting President, His Excellency Raul Castro, our deliberations will be guided to a successful outcome.
Mr. Chairman, as we gather here in Havana, we are reminded that Cuba was the only country from Latin America and the Caribbean to have been present at the Belgrade Conference in 1961. As one of the founding members, Cuba can be reliably expected to continue to play a very active and constructive leadership role in the affairs of NAM.
I must convey the Government of Jamaica’s sincere appreciation to Prime Minister Badawi and the Government of Malaysia for the very astute and constructive leadership of the NAM over the past three years.
We appreciate their efforts in exercising judicious guidance during some very turbulent periods in the international climate, when the interests and security of Non-Aligned Member States were directly impacted.
Jamaica takes particular pleasure in welcoming its CARICOM partners – Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis, as two new members of our Non Aligned Movement. They join Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda who formalized their membership during the Meeting of NAM Foreign Ministers in Malaysia in May. I am delighted to say that all members of CARICOM are now members of the Movement.
Mr. Chairman, this morning, as I participated in the opening exercise of my first NAM Summit, I had cause to reflect upon our role as leaders.
Every day we are being called upon to do something that may seem to be very simple. We, as leaders are called upon to ‘do the right thing”. Ironically, doing “the right thing”, making the “right decision”, is the most complex thing we are called upon to do. As leaders, we have to search ourselves to determine what is that “right thing”. What may be “right” for one group, or country, may not be for another.
If what we as leaders do, leads to growth, empowerment, development, peace, love, unity, strength and equality – then, we have done “the right thing”.
If our policies and actions lead to disarmament, if our policies and action fight against terrorism and illicit trafficking in drugs and persons, small arms and light weapons; if we uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the peaceful settlement of international disputes and universal respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states; then, we would have done “the right thing”.
As the Non-Aligned Movement celebrates its 45th Anniversary, the Movement is obliged to consciously take into account the global realities within which it operates. As the Movement seeks to renew itself and adjust to new global challenges, it must seek to do “the right thing” in a world that is constantly changing.
While NAM has to be relevant, like any other international organization, it must be aware of the past to influence the present and the future. The Non Aligned Movement’s role in contributing to the building of the esteem of formerly colonized nations which are seeking to assert their independence in this period of globalization, is extremely significant.
The NAM undoubtedly has supported nations in gaining political confidence and establishing their own identity. We must keep this in mind as we establish new mandates for current and future action. We as a Movement have to examine ourselves and the way we position ourselves in the decision making for the world we live in.
Membership in the NAM affirms our right to be a part of the decision making process for our world. Mr. Chairman, the Movement must feel confident enough to make its presence felt in the complicated, yet simple process, of ‘doing the right thing’ for its member states.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished colleagues, member countries of NAM comprise two-thirds of the membership of the United Nations. This statistic is very significant.
One-hundred-and-eighteen countries of the world have chosen to be members of the Non Aligned Movement. This speaks to the commitment and reaffirmation of those nations to fundamental principles, such as territorial integrity, independence and respect for sovereignty.As many of you move on to meet at the United Nations next week, it is a good time to give thought to our roles, responsibilities and actions as leaders, influencing our respective nations and the world at large.
As I look around the room, being here for the first time, I am truly moved by the enormous potential, we as a Movement have in our grasp.
Right here in this very room is the representation of critical resources needed for us to define our destiny and shape our future. What we need is to now demonstrate the unity of purpose that is required to make that destiny, that future, a prosperous and safe one. I am excited by the possibilities. From Malaysia to Cuba, we have spent the last three years reaffirming and revitalizing the roles and functions of the NAM. It is imperative that the NAM continues to examine and review its working methods and procedures. It is necessary that we enhance the impact and influence of the Movement, within the wider international community.
The NAM must continue to be participatory, democratic and representative of its broad membership. Jamaica therefore, supports the document on Methodology which this Summit will adopt and which we are confident will go a far way in strengthening the Movement.
Mr. Chairman, the increasing membership and the steadfast commitment of present members to NAM is an indication that our members recognize that globalization continues to spread inequality, poverty and instability among and within our nations.
Some of the challenges we as developing nations, in the 21st century, face include:- Unilateral action – Inequitable financial structures – Threats to global governance- Increasing pandemics – including HIV-AIDS- Environmental degradation resulting in global climate change – Marginalization of groups within our societies – the youth, women, the disabled, the poor, oppressed and dispossessed.
I pause, Mr. Chairman, to examine this challenge more closely as it is one that is very high on our national development agenda.
Poverty eradication remains central to our social and economic development objectives. NAM must therefore remain committed to the implementation of the outcomes of the major Conferences and Summits in the field of development, including the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs. It is disturbing to note that the majority of developing countries that will fail to meet the MDGs by the targeted date of 2015, are NAM member states.
Poverty eradication and social development cannot be achieved without firm commitment to realizing the advancement, equality and empowerment of women. Under my leadership, this is a priority for the Government of Jamaica and we look forward to the outcome of the Second NAM Ministerial Meeting on the Advancement of Women, to be held in Guatemala in 2007 and its contribution to this agenda.
Here at the NAM, we see a clear demonstration of willingness to make positive changes in the lives of the peoples of the world. Each of you, while being committed to balancing the books of your nation, seeks to balance people’s lives.
This commitment is clear from the sheer number of nations participating in the Summit. Amongst us are represented the emerging economies of the world. Here resides awesome power to ‘do the right thing’. Look around, we see it right here in front of us.But, Mr. Chairman, for the 45 years that NAM has been in existence, we have always had size and numbers in our favor, and the Movement continues to grow. What we must ask ourselves now is:
In the face of the challenges confronting us, what are the things that we are going to do differently to ensure new, positive outcomes?
As we at the NAM seek to answer that question, we must turn our attention to:
Strengthening our internal democracy. All our members must be able to participate effectively; be they big or small, weak or strong. All countries must have a voice in this our parliament of the South.
We must identify priority issues. There are many things that unite us. We must build consensus around them. To preserve this consensus we need to pay keen attention to the need for greater coordination in the actions and statements on behalf of the Movement. If we talk about unity, it must be real. It requires coordination and trust.
Mr. Chairman, as we seek to strengthen the Non Aligned Movement, there must be information sharing. For decades others have defined who we are and what we represent to the rest of the world.
We must create structures and media though which we can disseminate information and inform ourselves about the world and the world about ourselves. To gain and preserve the unity we desire, we have to learn about each other, know our ways of being and understand the aspirations and concerns of our peoples. We have much more in common than we currently think.
We have to define ourselves and not allow ourselves to be represented by global media who neither know or understand us and have not demonstrated that they have our interests at heart.
Mr. Chairman, we have met here in Havana, Cuba to help to identify ‘the right things” to do for the peoples of our respective nations. The NAM Movement should continue to play a leading role in the ongoing efforts to reform, revitalize and strengthen the United Nations system.
. We must continue to insist upon the preservation and maintenance of international peace and security . We must let our voices be heard in the promotion of international cooperation. We must be resolute in our stance to adhere to the mandates, resolutions and decisions we adopt in the United Nations. . We cannot be selective in honouring our obligations under international law, nor should we be reticent in registering our concern, disapproval or censure where breaches occur.
As we look to the future we are confident that the NAM will remain a dynamic force in international relations. We must actively address the existing global challenges and pursue new paths of cooperation and progress in the interest of all developing countries.
I wish to reiterate Jamaica’s confidence that under Cuba’s experienced and inspired leadership the NAM will move forward with renewed vigour, commitment and confidence as we seek to chart its role and mandate for the immediate future and beyond. You can count on the full cooperation of Jamaica, your closest neighbour to the south.
If each of us takes away the simplicity of the concept of “doing the right thing”, what a nation, what a Movement, what a region, what a world we could have. Each act added to the other would stop the war, end the animosity, bridge the divides and build the world economy. That seems to me to be the right thing to do.Distinguished colleagues, the moment is right, the time is now. To paraphrase the words of Marcus Garvey, “Up you mighty nations, you can accomplish what you will.”
I thank you.

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