Focus on the Environment for Commonwealth Day


The Jamaican Parliament today (March 10), joined other Commonwealth Parliaments around the world, in observing Commonwealth Day, under the theme: ‘The Environment, Our Future’.
At an observation ceremony at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, President of the Senate, Dr. Oswald Harding, said there remains a dilemma between technology and the environment.
“We have a dilemma because we all need to have technological development (but) on the other hand, a lot of the technology that is being developed, is creating environmental problems,” he said, adding that the “environment is going to be the asset of the future, and we have a duty to protect it.”
Deputy Leader of Government Business in the House, and Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, said this year’s theme is timely as the world is currently addressing issues concerning environmental protection.
“Issues such as how changes in society, institutions and technology will affect the environment, and the impact on international and national policies, are important topics in these discussions. We need to take this opportunity to look at our options and our opportunities carefully,” he urged.
Mr. Gallimore, who brought greetings on behalf of Leader of Government Business in the House, and Minister of National Security, Derrick Smith, stressed the importance of the youth being the focus of Commonwealth Day activities.
“We not only need to instill in them an awareness of the usefulness of the Commonwealth and the role it continues to play in international relations, but we also need to increase their focus on the environment and its importance to the survival of humanity,” he emphasised.
The Deputy Leader explained that Commonwealth Day celebrates a common colonial heritage, and the bond that was developed between these nations, as members of the former British empire, as well as the contributions that they have made as a political unit and the creation of an environment for dialogue and co-operation.
Mr. Gallimore said the fact that every English-speaking Caribbean nation continues to observe a democratic tradition of choosing its government, by having one man for one vote, is something that must be respected.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House, Delroy Chuck said that, “it is for us as a nation and a people, to conduct ourselves with the discipline and order, to improve our island, so that others will want to visit here.”
He pointed out that Jamaicans have a great challenge to clean up and beautify the island, and to make the environment so attractive that people from around the world, particularly in the Commonwealth, can visit and enjoy Jamaica for its beauty.
Presenting an overview of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), former Speaker of the House, Michael Peart explained that the association emerged from the Empire Parliamentary Association, founded in 1911 at the House of Commons, in London.
He said that the association takes no decisions by which governments are bound. “They discuss and make recommendations, and assist young Parliaments,” he noted.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated each year on the second Monday in March, when the governments, Commonwealth organizations and schools participate in events to pay tribute to this special partnership of nations and peoples and the ideals they share.
The Commonwealth of Nations is a 53-country coalition that is dedicated to co-operation and governed by mutual respect. The Commonwealth spreads throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, North America, the Pacific, and Europe, encompassing two billion people, which represent more than a quarter of the world’s population.

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