JIS News

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness says Jamaica remains committed to playing its part in preserving and advancing democracy and increasing its momentum around the world.

“Jamaica aspires to improve the lives of our citizens, protect their rights, and create conditions in which we can all strive for freedom, peace, and prosperity in a stable democracy,” he noted, while addressing the opening day of the two-day virtual ‘Summit for Democracy’ on Thursday (Dec. 9), being hosted by United States President, Joe Biden.

The Prime Minister said that democratic nations need to actively promote a multilateral system that fosters fairness in trade, protects the planet, and guarantees the security and human rights of the people of the world.

“This will support the collective ability of governments to deliver and therefore support the preservation of democracy,” he said, noting that inequalities have been revealed and deepened by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as people demand more from constrained governments.

Mr. Holness said that Jamaica is proud of its 76 years of universal adult suffrage and uninterrupted democratic election of governments.

He noted, however, that democracy is more than the mechanics of free elections, but “is a commitment by the State to respect the will of the people every day.”

“Democracy requires constant vigilance in maintaining and strengthening its institutions and principles. Our commitment to democracy is pursued with the inclusion and scrutiny of civil society and non-governmental organisations, as well as a free press,” he said.

Mr. Holness further pointed out that like any other system of government, democracy’s true test lies in its ability to effectively address the needs of the people.

“Democratic countries must therefore continually improve citizens’ security, increase access to education, health and economic opportunities, reduce inequality, protect human and environmental rights and diversity, improve anti-corruption frameworks, and maintain the rule of law. Jamaica continues to work in each of these areas,” he noted.

Mr. Holness said Jamaica looks forward to working with its partners “as we seek to learn from each other, to share and exchange experiences and to commit to strengthening our democracy and promote democratic principles and ideals globally”.

He thanked President Biden for hosting the summit and for leading such an important discussion.

The summit, which is targeted at leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector, is being held from December 9 to 10.

It will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.

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