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Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson has called on Summit leaders to reduce the amount of money they spend on weapons that are endangering the lives of ordinary citizens and threatening social order.
“We could find considerable funds for the development process if we were to reduce the trillions of dollars spent annually on weapons”, Mr. Patterson said in his address to the second plenary of the 4th. Summit of the Americas held in Argentina from November 4-5.
He said that if such a reduction were to take place, the world would not only be more prosperous but much safer and secure. Speaking against the background of what he called “new and serious economic and social challenges” facing many countries, Mr. Patterson said that the Summit process was at a critical juncture and required very clear and specific measures for the fulfilment of its commitments. According to him, all Summits will be judged by the concrete and tangible benefits that are produced.
“The quest for sustainable economic growth that favours job creation, reduces poverty and promotes peace and stability in the Americas will only be achieved through a long term commitment to cooperation and hemispheric partnership, that will facilitate better access to markets, increased capital flows and more favourable terms in the transfer of technology.”
The Prime Minister told the heads that the situation of many countries is exacerbated by the frequency of natural disasters in the region, which he said was subject to recurring cycles of destruction and recovery, nullifying the gains of existing development. He said that many of countries have been forced to return to the drawing board to reorder economic priorities as a result of the over-active hurricane season.
On the matter of job creation, Mr. Patterson said that international trade was of overarching importance. “With this in mind, the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong is of considerable significance.
A successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round should include the reduction and elimination of tariffs and other barriers on agricultural and industrial goods, while providing for specific measures for application of special and differential treatment for developing countries, particularly smaller economies”, he told heads.
He called on leaders to seriously evaluate the prospects for the FTAA process in light of the obvious difficulties which have arisen. He said that the issue of special measures for small economies will remain paramount.
The Fourth Summit of the Americas was held under the theme “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance.