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Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Audrey Marks, has urged the organisation to continue to emphasise the multi-dimensional approach to security in the Americas, noting that security threats can no longer be addressed solely with armed conflict.
This approach, she said, must encompass economic, social, health and environmental issues, among other key factors that can have a significant effect on the security and stability of a state.
In delivering her inaugural address to the Permanent Council of the OAS at its headquarters in Washington DC on Tuesday (June 22), Ambassador Marks said the inextricable link between security and development “requires us to intensify and indeed transform our programmes that provide economic and social opportunities, particularly in vulnerable communities, to ensure social cohesion and community strengthening. Law enforcement efforts alone will not suffice.”
She said that the importance of co-operation in these areas, at the bilateral, regional and international levels, cannot be overstated and “we therefore look forward to collaborating with all our partners and with the OAS, to identify ways in which our country, and others that share these concerns, can benefit from tangible support.”
Ambassador Marks used the opportunity to reiterate how seriously Jamaica takes the issues of democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law.
She declared: “Jamaica also places high importance on the safety and security of the country and of all its citizens and will not abdicate its responsibility to apprehend disruptive and destabilising criminal elements and drug traffickers.”
She pointed out that Jamaica continues to attach great importance to the OAS development agenda and particularly to meeting the needs of small states, through eradicating poverty and human resource development.
“For this reason, I wish to underscore the importance of the OAS technical co-operation programme, particularly through the FEMCIDI process, which has provided support in the areas of education, social development, tourism, natural disaster reduction, among others, as well as the invaluable scholarship and training programmes.”
Ambassador Marks added that the timely completion of the Social Charter of the Americas and its Plan of Action remains a high priority for Jamaica, “as we strive to accord the appropriate balance between the organisation’s political mandates and its economic and social agenda.”
She also reaffirmed Jamaica’s commitment to the priorities of the OAS and stated that, through constructive dialogue, she would continue to ensure that the relationship remains strong and mutually beneficial.
The Ambassador further informed the permanent representatives in the OAS Permanent Council that Jamaica values greatly the excellent relationship it shares with the OAS.
This important relationship, she said, has been enhanced over the years “by Jamaica’s participation at ministerial and high-level meetings in the areas of labour, education, sustainable development, social development, culture, science and technology and local government, the hosting of various OAS workshops in our country, as well as various visits of the Secretary General to Jamaica.”
In officially welcoming Ambassador Marks to the Permanent Council, various Latin American Ambassadors used the opportunity to commend Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, and government of Jamaica for the bold stance they have recently taken to eradicate criminal elements in the country and wish the Prime Minister and his government every success in their efforts to eliminate the scourge that faces a number of countries.
Ambassador Mark’s address to the Permanent Council comes a month after she presented her credentials to the Secretary General of the OAS and less than two weeks after leading Jamaica’s delegation to the OAS’ general assembly in Lima, Peru.