By Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson, QC,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on the
Visit to Jamaica of the President of the United States of America, The Honourable Barack Obama and the CARICOM/USA Summit 8th-9th April 2015
Jamaica’s Participation in the Seventh Summit of the Americas, Panama, 10th-11th April 2015
The events of the last week or so have placed Jamaica’s international relations and our foreign policy in the spotlight, nationally, regionally and globally.
I refer of course to the visit of Honourable Barack Obama, President of the USA, to Jamaica on 8th to 9th April 2015; the visit of CARICOM Heads of Government for the CARICOM-USA Summit on 9th April 2015; and the Summit of Americas in Panama on 10th -11th April 2015.
Yesterday, we reported to the media on the outcomes of the bilateral visit of President Obama and of some aspects of the CARICOM-USA Summit.
It is true, Mr. President, that much has already been written and said about the visit of the President. But there are two aspects that I would wish to highlight which I believe may not have received the attention they deserve.
The first relates to Jamaica’s position on the international stage.
When the administration led by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller took office in January 2012, we realized that there was much work to be done to re-establish Jamaica’s reputation in the international arena as a leader in the sphere of international relations and foreign policy.
As I assumed the role of Foreign Minister, I was conscious that as the thirteenth holder of this high office, I was following a distinguished line of Ministers who had served Jamaica and the region with excellence and who had, over the years, upheld the fundamental principles and values of Jamaican foreign policy and diplomacy.
I was also acutely conscious, however, of the fact that Jamaica had lost a degree of trust in our international relations and that our once stellar place as a leader in the field of international relations and foreign policy had suffered some damage as a result of certain events over the preceding years.
It was against this background, that in my maiden speech to the Diplomatic Corps on the occasion of Diplomatic Week 2012, I said:
“We will not depart from the fundamental principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, self-determination, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, and cooperation with all states in pursuit of an international system based on peace, justice, equity, and international cooperation for development. We have and will continue to defend and promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law…READ MORE