JIS News

Jamaica is getting support for its position on the proposed changes to the EU sugar protocol from members of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) of the ACP-EU. The members paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Patterson this morning (Thursday October 20, 2005) at Jamaica House.
Prime Minister Patterson told the parliamentarians that the EU would be making a fundamental error in judgment by looking at the sugar industry purely in economic terms. He said that the threat to the political system, democracy and good governance must be given serious consideration as democratic governments face challenges in dealing with people’s anger.
The Prime Minister said that some 10% of the population works in the sugar industry and that there was virtually no parish in the island whose economic and social fortunes were not determined by the industry.
He reminded the parliamentarians that the sugar protocol was negotiated at a time when world prices were high and the commodity was in short supply. He said that ACP negotiated to sell the EU below market price because the sugar protocol was to be of perpetual duration.
Mrs. Glenys Kinnock, Co-President of the JPA, told Prime Minister Patterson that she would support Jamaica’s position for financial compensation. Mrs. Kinnock said that ACP countries had a moral case and urged them to use the opportunity in Hong Kong later this year to strengthen their call to modify the inadequate compensation that is proposed by the European Union.
She said that adequate compensation was important to affected countries especially in light of the need to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Mrs Kinnock said that she was now in a position to make the case of these countries more effectively to the EU.
Mrs. Sharon Hay-Webster, Member of Parliament South Central St. Catherine is Co-President of the Assembly.