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  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has urged CELAC member countries to give focused attention to poverty reduction.
  • Prime Minister Simpson Miller commended the CELAC Action Plan to fight poverty and hunger, and ensure food security for member countries.
  • She pointed out that the wider regional grouping had a lot to gain if CELAC members commit to building together and to learning from each other.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller has urged member countries and governments of the Community of Latin American States and Caribbean States (CELAC) to continue to give focused attention to meaningful cooperation that can significantly reduce poverty in their respective countries through expanded production, trade, investments and job creation.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller commended the CELAC Action Plan to fight poverty and hunger, and ensure food security for member countries, noting that the success of the plan required partnerships with entities such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation and other international and regional institutions.

“Such partnerships are necessary if we are to raise the millions suffering within our Community out of the hellish state of poverty,” the Prime Minister said.

She pointed out that the wider regional grouping had a lot to gain if CELAC members commit to building together and to learning from each other. Prime Minister Simpson Miller made the comments as she addressed the plenary session of the first day of the two-day Third CELAC Summit in San Jose, Costa Rica on Wednesday (January 28).

“As we engage with the rest of the world to elaborate an ambitious and transformative international development agenda for the post-2015 period, we acknowledge that poverty eradication is one of the great global challenges facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development,” the Prime Minister said.

She referenced the political philosophy of Venezuelan liberator, Simon Bolivar as the foundation on which the ideal of Latin American and Caribbean integration is built. “We are extremely proud that this year we are celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the historic “Carta de Jamaica” or “Jamaica Letter”, which was written by Simon Bolivar on 6th September 1815 in Kingston, Jamaica,” she told the CELAC leaders and senior government officials.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller added that the anniversary of the ‘Carta de Jamaica’ was a reminder that the road to regional integration has been a long one and remains a work in progress.

“Within CELAC, all thirty-three (33) nations of Latin America and the Caribbean have resolved to create our own regional space to engender trust and confidence, to project our unique identity and values to the world, and to promote our development, stability and security in all their dimensions,” she said.

In the context of the coming together of the nations of the Americas, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said she was heartened by the bold and courageous move by the Republic of Cuba and the United States of America towards the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

“I also look forward to Cuba’s full participation in the Summit of the Americas in Panama this April, which will be the occasion for all thirty-five (35) countries of our hemisphere to move away from what divides us and pave the way for us to be restored as a strong hemispheric family of nations,” the Prime Minister noted.

Jamaica, she pointed out, acknowledged that some of the most pressing concerns of Small Island Developing States and Middle Income Countries including financing for development, the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters, transnational organised crime and drug trafficking, were included among the issues for consideration at the CELAC Summit.  Prime Minister Simpson Miller urged the Summit to take clear decisions on these issues.

She also urged her colleague Heads of State and Government to consider and adopt the declarations which speak to the various concerns of the CELAC member countries. Against this background, she highlighted three declarations submitted to the Summit by Jamaica. These are: The Special Declaration on the Initiative of Erecting at the United Nations in New York a Permanent Memorial in Honour of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade; the Special Declaration on Small Island Developing States (SIDS); and the Special Declaration on Challenges facing Latin American and Caribbean Middle Income Countries.

The CELAC summit was held under the theme “The Fight against Poverty with an emphasis on Transparency, Accountability and the Fight against Corruption”.

 

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