PM calls for lifting of embargoes against Cuba at UNGA

Friday, September 28, 2018

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has called for the lifting of embargoes against the Republic of Cuba.

Holness, who spoke at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City yesterday, used the international platform to call for the removal of sanctions against Cuba.

A release from the Office of the Prime Minister said as Holness delivered his statement to world leaders, he noted that societies function best within an inclusive global environment, where no one feels left behind.

“Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be people-centred. Embargoes and other financial and economic barriers must not become tools to prevent people, such as our neighbours, the citizens of the Republic of Cuba, from attaining their right to development. Jamaica continues to call for a lifting of the embargoes against that country,” Holness said.

In his address, the prime minister also told the world leaders that while Small Island Developing States (SIDS) continue to strengthen partnerships around the world, economic independence will ultimately secure resilience for all SIDS.

He pointed out that Jamaica and other SIDS continue to work to resolve its economic issues and seek greater opportunities regardless of size and development.

According to Holness, the Jamaican Government has made several strides to help build resilience.

“We cannot wait on the world to save us, and we recognise that the world will not wait for us. Notwithstanding that, we are a Small Island Developing state with numerous challenges; we are taking our destiny into our own hands. Ultimately, we believe our economic independence will secure our resilience,” he said.

Holness said, too, that fora such as G7, BRICS and G20 provide a unique opportunity to solve some of the many issues plaguing SIDS and other countries. He said Jamaica welcomes the possibility to share perspectives.

“Jamaica stands ready to continue working on how we can transform global thinking, and together find effective solutions within a fair, rules-based multilateral system, supportive of policies which will ensure the emergence and empowerment of small and developing states — truly leaving no country, and no one behind,” explained Holness.

He further pointed out three critical concepts that each nation must embody in order for no country to be left behind in the quest for resilience.

They are: Effective strategies to bolster the global financial system; a robust global campaign to identify funding for the implementation of Agenda 2030 and; resilience and adaptation measures to address the devastating effects of climate change and natural disasters.

“Jamaica and its Caricom (Caribbean Community) brother and sister islands do not have the luxury of engaging in a philosophical debate on whether or not climate change is real” as the matter is existential for SIDS, the prime minister said.

“We (world leaders) must not lose sight of the responsibility to promote and protect the interests of the vulnerable,” Holness charged.

In the meantime, the prime minister also noted that it is important for the UN to support the efforts of the secretary-general and his special envoy in pursuing political processes related to situations in Western Sahara, Syria and Myanmar.

In that regard, Holness said each nation should be mindful of others who consistently face discrimination as the world prepares to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Jamaica has been at the forefront of international human rights, having been the first country to incorporate human rights into our foreign policy strategy – a principle that we guard fiercely. We will never lose sight of the responsibility to promote and protect the interests of the vulnerable. We are especially keen to ensure that our women, children, persons living with disabilities, elderly and young people can make meaningful contributions, and reap the benefits of a safe and prosperous society,” he said.

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