Foreign Policy Remain as is – But Shift Likely Based on Global Environment says PM


Prime Minister Bruce Golding is of the view that a foreign policy which has served Jamaica well over many years does not require change at this time, but that some shift in strategy based on the current global environment and the different areas of emphasis may become necessary. This, he said could include a review of countries with which Jamaica has diplomatic relations to reflect new global realities.
Mr. Golding was speaking on Tuesday (Jan. 8) to Jamaica’s Heads of Mission overseas who are in the island for a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh.
The Prime Minister said the country was operating in a world where people are less interested in ideology but more concerned with the state of the economy and the opportunities for investment. He said although the global scenario was one of conflicting and contrasting situations, there are opportunities from which the country could gain. He said Jamaica has been engaged in a series of complex negotiations in order to get onto the playing field, including the recently concluded European Partnership Agreement (EPA). Other trade related negotiations still to be completed are Doha Development Round, CARIBCAN and the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).
The Prime Minister said what Jamaica needs now are economic opportunities, markets and access to investments to enable the country to service those markets. He said this would require action both internally and externally, and that the Heads of Mission would have an increasing role to play in managing those trade agreements that have been concluded in order to enable the country to expand its trade and investment. On the domestic side, Mr. Golding said more would have to be done to create an investment climate and make Jamaica more business friendly.
Mr. Golding has however expressed concern about the institutional capacity of the country to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that have been created. He said while it is good to have duty free and quota free access to European markets for goods and services, the gains would not be forthcoming if the country is unable to produce efficiently and at the right price. He also pointed to an inadequacy of investment capital and skills deficiency within the labour force.
Turning to the role and influence of the Jamaican Diaspora, Mr. Golding said more work was needed to build the Diaspora Foundation and formalize it into an organization that can be effective in communicating with Jamaicans abroad while giving them room to contribute to nation building. He said the Diaspora has a lot it can contribute and was a powerful force behind the branding of Jamaica.
Prime Minister Golding thanked the diplomats for their dedicated service and representation of Jamaica overseas and assured them of the full support and confidence of the government.
The Prime Minister was joined at the meeting by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr. Kenneth Baugh and Senator Donald Robinson, Minister of State in the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Minister Baugh said the consultation with the Heads of Diplomatic Mission overseas was intended to renew efforts to create a national image abroad and encourage investment into the country, while facilitating dialogue between the Heads and the political and technical directorate on relevant political, economic and social issues.

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