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Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has stated that unless serious attention is given to the intrinsic link between democracy, good governance and international security on one hand and the pursuit of the development agenda, the goals of global peace, stability and political and economic security would remain elusive. He made the comment while addressing a special protocolary session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States in Washington on Thursday (Mar. 9).
Mr. Patterson told the OAS Permanent Council that Heads of Government of the Hemisphere should address the development agenda with the same energy and commitment as was evident in the work on the democratic agenda, which led to the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. He said each element should be given equal dedication in order that the benefits of democracy can be widely felt throughout the Hemisphere and the quality of lives of all peoples improved.
The Prime Minister reiterated the commitment of CARICOM to the goals and objectives of the Summit of the Americas including the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, but said that if the FTAA has no future “we must be realistic and begin to explore new alternatives.” He said that given the slow progress of the Doha Development Round of multilateral negotiations the Hemisphere would have to find an impetus for advancing discussions on key issues in the World Trade Organization.
“Our collective vision of growth, economic prosperity and stability for the Hemisphere must not be confined to the narrow territorial boundaries of the hemisphere. Let us broaden the boundaries of our collaboration beyond the OAS and the United Nations. It is high time for the Caribbean and Latin American countries to pool our collective bargaining resources in the WTO, where we also have common goals and concerns,” Mr. Patterson stated.
Prime Minister Patterson acknowledged the improvements in global economic prospects arising from both globalization and liberalization, which he said have been the driving forces behind the integration of the global economy. He however stressed that inequalities still remained that have placed a number of countries at economic risk, including those in Latin America and the Caribbean.
He said the emergence of various economic blocs was not a mere coincidence, but a natural progression towards strengthening the ability of individual countries to use there collective bargaining power to face the new era of international economic relations. He cited the inauguration of the CARICOM Single Market in January this year and the move towards a Single Economy by 2008 as the region’s response to the new paradigm.
Mr. Patterson commended the Organization of American States for pivotal role it has played as the primary political forum in the Hemisphere for maintaining peace and security, promoting and consolidating democracy as well as advancing Hemispheric cooperation for integral development. He said the OAS undoubtedly been instrumental in the settlement of disputes and in bringing solutions to various political situations in the Hemisphere.
He further applauded the OAS for the important role it has played in dealing with the political solution in Haiti, which he said had resulted in the return of President Rene Preval as the duly elected Leader of that country. He said every effort must now be made to bring Haiti into full participation in various trade negotiations in the Hemisphere and the WTO.