Speech

Mr. President,

 

Allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of this 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I assure you of the full support and cooperation of the Jamaican delegation as you carry out your duties.

 

I place on record my delegation’s appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Nassir Al-Nasser, for his invaluable guidance of the work of the General Assembly during its 66th Session.

 

I also thank the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and the staff of the UN Secretariat, for their dedication and hard work in serving Member States.

 

 

Mr. President,

 

There is a tale of a young woman from a deep, rural village in Jamaica who was approached by a political candidate seeking to represent her community. “What is it you want most from your representatives?” the candidate asked her. The young woman considered the question for a moment. Slowly and thoughtfully she replied,

 

All I want is an opportunity…I want you to provide me and my family with a living environment in which I can work, contribute and prosper. Most of all, I want you to provide for my family an environment that is safe and secure”.

 

Mr. President, our respective peoples have for hundreds of years looked to their leaders with great expectations. They elected governments that they felt could provide them with the greatest sense of wellbeing and security. Historically and to this present day, they look to heads of state and government to provide them, their families, communities and ultimately their respective nations with leadership and direction that foster that all-important sense of well-being, and feeling ‘secure’. Over time, across the world there has been an increasing sense of impatience and agitation born of a sense of growing global insecurity.

 

Accordingly, the UN agenda has expanded its focus to address the multifaceted challenges of foodsecurity, climate change, global pandemics and the global economic and financial crisis. We have already witnessed citizens from several nations ‘spring’ into action with demands for change.

 

 

Others chose to ‘occupy’ various spaces in protest. In light of this reality, many of you…indeed many of us as leaders stand as buffers between apathy and anarchy. The theme for this year’s session of the Assembly, “Bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means”, is most appropriate and timely, given current events in a number of countries and regions which pose a threat to international peace and security. It is reflective of the call made by that young woman who simply asked her representative to provide for her and hers “…an environment that is safe and secure”. Yet, her request is not as simple as it appears:

 

 

The insecurity, impatience and unease that have emerged worldwide are explosive accelerants. They emerge from the heart-breaking scourge of poverty that is so aptly described by the Jamaican National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who reminded us that:

 

“Poverty is a hellish state to be in. It is no virtue.

It is a crime.

To be poor is to be hungry without possible hope of food; To be sick without hope of medicine;

To be tired and sleepy without a place to lay one’s head; To be naked without the hope of clothing;

To be despised and comfortless…

 

Mr. President,

 

We must seek to rid ourselves of conditions which lead to poverty. We must pursue social and economic policies that will ensure social equity and justice for our people and increase their wellbeing and sense of security. This can only be achieved if we, as Member States, work together in good faith to secure the sustainable future we agreed to at Rio. Let us create the future we want…and put our people first…READ MORE

Download Prime Minister’s Address to the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly