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Canadian Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, has given an undertaking to pursue the interests of developing nations, such as Jamaica, with multi-lateral funding agencies, against the background of the prevailing global economic downturn.
He gave this commitment at the signing of a bi-lateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between Jamaica and Canada, at Jamaica House on April 21. Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding and Mr. Harper signed the MoU.
The MoU will facilitate the provision of Can$18 million, over the next four years, to enhance Jamaica’s judicial system, through the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) programme.
In his address, Mr. Golding lamented the challenges which countries like Jamaica, which are classified as “indebted middle income” states by the United Nations (UN), face in accessing funding earmarked for countries categorised as poor.
Noting that these concerns were shared with Mr. Harper, Mr. Golding said, “as I pointed out to the United Nations General Assembly in September last year, and on so many occasions, notwithstanding the fact that we may be classified as middle income, the fact is that we do have deep and endemic pockets of poverty that need to be addressed.”
He pointed out that Jamaica’s debt limited the fiscal space necessary for the administration to effectively deal with some of the prevailing problems.
“Countries like Jamaica need special attention and consideration. I think Prime Minister Harper appreciated this in the discussions that we have had. We depend on him to take our concerns to the councils where we do not sit. I must credit him that, whenever he goes into those major councils, he seeks to find out from me, what are Jamaica’s concerns, and those of countries like Jamaica, that he can represent at those councils. I truly appreciate that kind of assistance and level of interest,” Mr. Golding said.
In his response, Mr. Harper, in alluding to the US$1 trillion commitment by the G20 countries to tackle the global recession, said that while member countries, inclusive of Canada, do not dictate how that undertaking would be executed, most of the leaders are keen on ensuring that their assistance translates into support.
“We will be pursuing those questions with them (multi-lateral institutions), because the intention of Canada, and I think most leaders of the G20, is to ensure that as we put these additional funds into these institutions to fight the recession, that no gaps are left. We need to be assured that these funds will properly assist countries in Jamaica’s situation,” the Prime Minister said.

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