JIS News

Jamaica is expected to host the next meeting of the executive committee of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA), which unites democratic Parliaments in the Americas.
This has been confirmed by Jamaica’s representative on COPA’s executive committee, Othneil Lawrence, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North West St. Ann, who returned home recently from the meeting of the committee in Santa Cruz, Argentina.
“They asked us to host the meeting here in January, 2010, and we have decided to go along with the proposal,” Mr. Lawrence told JIS News. He added that the meeting would attract approximately 80 Parliamentarians from across the hemisphere.
“Some of them have never been to Jamaica and would love to. I think we need to have them here so that they can see for themselves our democracy at work,” Mr. Lawrence said.
The Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas is an organisation that brings together congresses and assemblies, regional parliaments and the inter-parliamentary organisations of the Americas.
At last month’s meeting of the executive committee in Argentina, it was agreed to grant the People’s Republic of China observer status at future meetings of COPA.
Mr. Lawrence explained that both mainland China and Taiwan were vying for the status. He said that despite an attempt to delay the decision at the meeting, Jamaica insisted that it be resolved, leading to the decision.
China will, therefore, be represented as an observer at the next general assembly of COPA in Argentina in September, as well as the executive committee meeting in Jamaica in January 2010.
The committee also passed resolutions for the dispatch of an electoral observer mission to Mexico for July’s legislative elections there, and calling on Israel and Palestine to turn to diplomacy “as the best instrument for quickly resolving their conflict in the Gaza Strip.”
Mr. Lawrence, a government MP replaced Dr. Morais Guy (Central St. Mary) as the Jamaican parliament’s representative to COPA following the change of administration in 2007.

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