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A major assignment of the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, after the new administration came to office on September 11, was his maiden address at the opening of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN Headquarters in New York in October. At that forum, he challenged the world body to live up to its obligations for development, in order to effect real change in the lives of the millions of impoverished people around the world.
He called on member states to renew their commitment to reducing global poverty and human degradation by 2015, by focusing more on human development.
In a wide-ranging address, Dr. Baugh, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, underlined Jamaica’s support for the implementation of a global response to climate change and combating global warming beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.
He also urged the international community to do more for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which are now all too familiar with the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, which threaten the sustainable development agenda and the very existence of those member states.
On human rights, the Foreign Minister said that Jamaica was honoured to assume the chairmanship of the Third Committee, charged with the responsibility for the preservation and protection of human rights globally.
Also in October, the Minister addressed the Jamaican Diaspora Investment Conference and Trade Exposition in New Jersey, where he gave the government’s commitment to actively engage Jamaicans overseas in the country’s economic growth and development. He noted that a number of avenues are being explored towards this goal.He also spoke to staff of the Jamaican Consulate General in Miami during the same month, and lauded the work of overseas missions in opening up diplomatic doors that have created investment opportunities and economic development for Jamaica.
The Foreign Ministry also moved to strengthen ties with its diplomatic partners during the first 100 days.
State Minister, Dr. Ronald Robinson, attended a function in Ottawa hosted by Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, Peter Milliken, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Canada.
At the function, he said that Jamaica intends to expand opportunities for Canadian investment in, and trade with Jamaica, and provide more Jamaican workers for Canada.
“We are increasing Jamaica’s participation in the Canadian labour market, thereby contributing to growth here, not only in the agricultural sector where seasonal workers have been employed since 1966, but also in the construction, hospitality and other sectors where we have an excess of trained young people,” he stated.
During the period there were a number of significant international and diplomatic observances.
Jamaica joined the rest of the world in observing United Nations Day on October 24, while Jamaica/China Week marking the 35th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and the Peoples Republic of China was observed from November 18-24. An exchange of cultural television programmes between Jamaican and Chinese media highlighted the week’s activities.