Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, says despite limitations on regular diplomatic activity, international cooperation remained central to the Government’s achievement of inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
He said that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government secured and coordinated assistance valued at US$12 million from international partners, who donated medicines, field hospitals as well as medical, personal protective, and emergency response equipment.
“The Government also quickly and effectively engaged its network of missions, honorary consuls, diaspora communities and bilateral partners to see to the welfare of our nationals who were stranded overseas,” the Governor General said, as he delivered the Throne Speech at the ceremonial opening of Parliament, on February 18.
Recognising the importance of the diaspora, the Government established new councils for engagement and tabled the National Diaspora Policy.
In addition, Jamaica’s Honorary Consul Network was strengthened, not only by refreshing certain posts but by increasing the network by 20 per cent since 2016.
The Governor-General also informed that the country’s efforts in foreign trade and investment were enhanced under the newly launched Economic Diplomacy Programme, which, in collaboration with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), further empowers diplomatic missions and consular posts to vigorously promote opportunities for trade and investment in Jamaica.
In terms of legislative achievements, the Governor-General said these include accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as one of the first 50 states required for its entry into force; accession to the Apostille Convention, which will allow simplified document authentication processes to be implemented; ratification of the Revised Georgetown Agreement for the establishment of a new Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (OACPS); conclusion of the new Partnership Agreement between the OACPS and the European Union, together with its Caribbean Regional Protocol; and acceptance of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, to assist developing countries like Jamaica to access financial assistance to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Legislative priorities for the new fiscal year will include further strengthening the legal frameworks for Anti-Money Laundering/Combatting Financing of Terrorism, and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions; modernising monetary penalties in legislation within the remit of the Government; and domestic implementation of Part XI of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to regulate deep-seabed mining.
The Governor-General’s speech was delivered under the theme ‘Building Forward…Stronger Together’.