Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that collaboration between Caribbean and Latin American countries, or joint action in strategic areas, is not enough to achieve integration.
Mr. Golding said that significant achievements toward integration and collaboration have already been made among various sub-groups of Latin America and the Caribbean. However, there is need for broader, sturdier co-operation to engage and benefit the countries, in terms of how they relate to each other and the rest of the world.
He told Friday’s opening ceremony of the Special Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Latin America and the Caribbean (CALC) on Integration and Development, at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay St. James, on Friday (November 5), that while institutions of co-operation are being built, it is equally important to facilitate and promote interaction among the people.
“It is the irony of our relationship that, although we are neighbours, we remain to a large extent neighbouring strangers. Our people encounter each other far more in faraway places than they do in our own neighbourhood. Successful integration must be undergirded by easy and frequent contact among our people,” Mr. Golding said.
Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh (seated at centre), photographed with participants in the official opening ceremony of the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean (CALC) on Integration and Development, at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa, Montego Bay St. James on Friday (November 6).
The Prime Minister said special attention must be paid to facilitating easier travel within the region. He commended the signing, on Thursday, of an air service agreement between Mexico and Jamaica. He also suggested that special attention be paid to encouraging more exchanges between the people of the region, especially in the areas of tourism, culture and sports.
Mr. Golding said that the power and potential of the region should not be underestimated.
“With more than 570-million people with the most diverse mix of race, colour and ethnicity, abundance of natural resources, we have more than enough to sustain ourselves and make our people prosperous,” he stated.
He said there are synergies that can be derived from working more closely than in the past, but the countries have looked, separately and individually, beyond the region for opportunities to strengthen their economies and provide a better life for their people.
Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding (centre) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh,(second left) photographed with Jamaican liaison officers during the staging of the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean (CALC) on Integration and Development, at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa, Montego Bay St. James, Friday, (November 6).
The Prime Minister said Jamaica welcomed the initiative taken by the President of Brazil in convening the meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean leaders, last December in Salvador, Bahia.
“These deliberations culminated in the Salvador Declaration, which called for an action plan to explore the modalities and mechanisms that would enable us to advance the process of integration and development within the region,” he recalled.
He said that a draft action plan identifying specific targets and strategies has been developed, through intense consultations among subscribing countries.
Other speakers at the ceremony were: Jamaica’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh; His Worship the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair; Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency Patricia Espinosa Cantellano; and Brazil’s Minister of External Relations, His Excellency Celso Amorim.
The meeting, chaired by Dr. Baugh, focussed on issues pertaining to the integration and development of the Latin America and Caribbean region. Attention was also given to current global challenges, such as the ongoing economic crisis and energy, food and climate change issues.