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JIS News

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said Jamaica will continue to use its foreign and trade policy initiatives as tools to aid in the development process and help the country meet the UN Millennium Development Goals. Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (May 9) in her contribution to the 2006/07 Budget Debate as the first woman Prime Minister of Jamaica.
She said that a key initiative would be to work with international partners to assist the county with the provision of foreign language training. To this end, she said that consideration was being given to the introduction of a pilot project in foreign languages at the early childhood level.
She stressed that without a working knowledge of a foreign language the county could be at a disadvantage in taking its rightful place in the globalised world. She said that as children learn quickest at an early age, the early childhood level was an appropriate point at which to begin training.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said also that Jamaica would continue to strengthen its bilateral relations with the countries of the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa and maintain its leadership role in various multilateral organizations of which the country is an active member. She said Jamaica would continue to work in these fora to promote world peace and international development for all peoples.
Turning to the Caribbean region, the Prime Minister said the government would be giving special attention to the completion of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The CARICOM Single Market was inaugurated in Jamaica earlier this year by six member States of CARICOM. Six other Caribbean States are expected to sign on to the CSM by June this year. The Single Economy is expected to be implemented by 2008.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said cooperation among CARICOM member States was an important element in trade negotiations with international partners including the conclusion of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union and an alternative to the Caribbean Basin Initiative between the United States and the Caribbean.