JIS News

Over a period of two centuries, some fifteen million young Africans were crowded into slave ships, propelled by the winds that sweep the Atlantic at this time of year.
Family victims of the pernicious system of slavery were separated forever according to the dictates of the plantocracy in the Caribbean, North, Central and South America.
So, no matter in what country we now reside, we are indeed one big family, one people. We are all descendants of those who survived the Middle Passage.
Once again, I express the deepest sympathy of the government and people of Jamaica to everyone who lost a relative or friend and to all who suffered the traumatic experiences and material losses of Hurricane Katrina.
It is appropriate to underscore our special empathy with our kith and kin, who by all accounts, suffered the greatest loss from these catastrophes.
I cannot overlook the disdain manifest to the plight of the poor in Louisiana and the weakness in the early response to the devastation, so arrogantly described as a Third World situation.
No one can dispute the fact that the African American influence on the culture and vibrancy of New Orleans is the most pervasive, has giving heart and soul to this unique city.
Tonight, I am honoured to receive this high and special award of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
I do so with a sense of humility, yet gratified that my efforts have received the recognition of such a distinguished organization.
I do so on behalf of my colleagues who serve with me in the Caribbean and, as incumbent Chairman of the Group of 77 and China, a Group which embraces every sovereign nation on the Mother Continent of Africa.
Many decades ago, Marcus Mosiah Garvey implored us to redress the inequities of our history and change irreversibly the cruel imbalance that our people have suffered in the economic arena and social development, at both the global and domestic levels.
We are yet to complete that mandate.
The uphill climb we face, likening us once to children of Sisyphus, must not deter us.
To quote Maya Angelou: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
It has been my passionate resolve throughout my public life to engage all my energies and my intellect in the struggle to build the global framework where industrialized countries and developing nations alike have an equal voice in the determination of how best we protect and share the resources of the only planet where human life exists;
That we recognize there can be no lasting peace so long as a few seek to perpetuate political and social dominance to the detriment of those who have been marginalized far too long.
Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.
Why should we continue to spend trillions of dollars and devote so much of our professional and technical skills to making armaments and weapons of mass destruction when people are dying of hunger, when lives are cut short by malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases?
Wherever we operate, in the political sphere, no matter what continent or island, let us recognize that the prevention of genocide, the successful fight against terrorism, the preservation of our global environment are imperatives.
I see my brothers and sisters in the CBC as stalwart partners in the struggle to promote economic self-reliance, democratic governance and social upliftment to fulfill the needs of our citizens.
Together we must continue to strive for unity of purpose and action among us. We seek together to fashion a single World which we can inhabit and where, irrespective of gender, age, religious creed, or colour, we can all live in harmony together, because we all belong to the human race.
I congratulate you for all you are doing to nurture our confidence in ourselves. I congratulate the Foundation for this evening’s splendid and unforgettable ceremony.
In closing , let me quote from Genesis:”
“Behold they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. [Genesis 11:6]”.
May the Almighty continue to guide and bless us all.

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