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JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said only the people of Jamaica can decide if the country should enter into a unified political structure with the rest of the region. His comments were made yesterday (Tuesday, Apr. 8) during a courtesy call at Jamaica House by H.E. Stuart Jack, Governor of the Cayman Islands.
In responding to a question from Governor Jack about the pace of Caribbean integration, Mr. Golding said there is a limit to which any region can integrate without having a political structure. He said however that the decision as to how that political structure will derive its legitimate authority rests ultimately with the people of the region.
“If we are going to invest in a sovereign authority, only the people can decide,” Mr. Golding stated.
He said the process of integration has been moving along very slowly, especially with regards to the free movement of skilled nationals. He said Jamaica is the only country where the system seems to have worked, adding that a lack of capacity may be one of the reasons it has not worked in others. He cited the Economic Partnership Agreement and the staging of Cricket World Cup in 2007 as examples of how regional cooperation has worked. He said much more could be achieved especially in the area of security.
Turning to US/Caribbean relations, Mr. Golding said there is a feeling that the United States has been distracted from its interest in the region by events unfolding in emerging democracies, as well as the war in Iraq. He said it is hoped that there will be an enlightened approach to the region as a whole and not just towards Cuba, where there was a recent change in leadership.
Mr. Golding expressed the view that Cuba should be brought into the mainstream of the international fold as there are structures within the United Nations to deal with contending issues. He said now was the time for the region to hold hands and engage in deeper collaboration, as there was enough wealth that could be generated for all countries. He said Jamaica will be seeking to expand its cooperation with Cuba outside of those areas in which both countries are already engaged.