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Following Thursday’s (July 1) international launch of the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development in the Commonwealth in London, a Caribbean launch was held Sunday (July 4) at the Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay.

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Most Hon P.J.Patterson, (second left) addressing a press conference0 at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay Sunday (July 4), to officially launch the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development.

Today’s launch took place during the 31st Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), chaired by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, and taking place at the same venue, July 4 to 7.
Chairman of the Ramphal Commission, former Prime Minister, the Most Hon, P. J. Patterson, admitted that very little is known of the work of the Commission, and even less about the study on which it has embarked.
He said that in view of the fact that 13 of the 15 member states of CARICOM are Commonwealth states, while Suriname and Haiti, which are not, are greatly affected by the migration of their citizens, the Commission’s work is not only of great importance to the Commonwealth, but to the Caribbean, in particular.
“The first exercise which the Ramphal Centre is undertaking is that of making the case for the Commonwealth to take concerted action on the subject of migration. We came to this decision, because history informs us that the modern Commonwealth is a product of the migration of its peoples,” he stated.
Against the background of mixed perceptions about migration, Mr. Patterson outlined that one of the tasks of the Commission is to highlight the positive aspects of international migration, as well as the negative aspects, which are many, and how best to reverse the trend.
He said that it is the view of the Commission that the Commonwealth is uniquely placed to develop and implement practical and mutually beneficial policies which can, in turn, be recommended to the international community, and serve as a model in dealing with the problems of migration.
“But, before this can happen, the Commonwealth has to deal with the obvious shortcomings in current Government policies,” he stated.
The Commission Chairman explained that his team will be conducting its work with a deadline of November, 2011. On completion, a report will be presented to the Commonwealth Heads’ meeting in Perth, Australia.
He said that the plan is to recommend strategies for Commonwealth Governments which will maximise the benefit of cross border migration, so that it may increase opportunities for the development of poorer states, their communities and their citizens.