BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE MOST HON.
PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER O.N., M.P.
DELIVERED AT THE 50th ANNIVERSARY SUMMIT OF THE OAU/AFRICAN UNION
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
SATURDAY, MAY 25 2013
– Madam Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
– Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn,
– Heads of State and Government
– Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Greetings from the Caribbean, the beautiful islands set like jewels within the warm Caribbean Sea. Although we are separated by distance and waters deep, we remain connected by the blood of our ancestors. This is a wonderful homecoming for me, a daughter of African descent.
As I stand here the lyrics of reggae icon Bob Marley come to mind:
“Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hands, were made strong
By the hand of the Almighty
We forward in this generation, triumphantly.”
Marley’s Redemption Song is, for us in the African Diaspora, a reminder of the dehumanizing experiences our ancestors suffered. It evokes the Spirit of Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance.
When people of African origin were seen as less than human and only deemed fit for domination; Marcus Garvey saw people with a rich history and culture; a people with a bright future. Garvey exhorted: “Up you mighty race. You can accomplish what you will.”
We regard the struggle for justice and human dignity as indivisible and borderless. Jamaica’s prominent role in the Non-aligned Movement, the anti-apartheid struggle as well as our campaign for a New International Economic Order made us natural allies of the African Union.
The late Pan-Africanist Dudley Thompson reminded us in 2005 that “Fifty years ago, none of us would have been sitting here. Fifty years ago, our grandparents would not have thought that we would be returning to Africa with a message in our hearts that Africa is our home.”
I commend you, the African Union, for placing focus on, and accelerating the process of integration in the continent. Excellencies, I call on you to stand in defence of the Pan Africanist philosophy now taking shape – the formal recognition of the African Diaspora as the Sixth Region of Africa. Jamaica celebrates this development. Let us strengthen our trading, investment, social and economic relationships to improve the quality of life for all our peoples.
I thank you on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica for honouring three outstanding Jamaicans, Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley and Dudley Thompson, in recognition of their contribution to Pan Africanism.
My brothers and sisters:
On this important 50th Anniversary, I congratulate you and leave with you the words of Bob Marley:
‘One Love, One Heart’.
I thank you.