FORMER Prime Minister PJ Patterson moved his address to the People's National Party (PNP) on Sunday beyond the borders of local politics, telling the 84-year-old movement that it needs to play a role in reshaping the global order as it was never designed to benefit Jamaica and other developing nations.
Outside of his appeal to the fractured party to unite, Patterson lived up to his reputation as an elder statesman armed with decades of experience in international relations that include the signing of the Lomé agreement in 1975 which resulted in the European Community providing aid and extending trade and tariff preferences to 62 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.
"Now, more than ever, we must form a sturdy and enduring partnership between the 54 nations of Africa and the 14 of the Caribbean to collaborate with the remainder of the developing world by reinvigorating the non-aligned movements," Patterson, who served as Jamaica's sixth chief executive from 1992 to 2006, told the public session of the PNP's annual general conference at the National Arena in St Andrew.
The partnership of nations, he suggested, should work "within the Group of 77, plus China, in the configuration of the existing global order which was never designed by us or made to operate for our benefit and is no longer fit for purpose to create a new international order, one which augurs peace, security and is there to battle global warming as well as equitable sharing in all the resources of a single planet — Mother Earth".
The Group of 77 (G-77) took its name from the number of developing countries that came together in June 1964 to establish the bloc within the United Nations. Its formation was rooted in the fact that developing countries realised that for political independence to become meaningful, changes were required in the economic relations between North and South.
As such, the group — which has now grown to more than 130 countries — allows its member countries to collectively promote their economic interests and jointly negotiate on all major international economic issues within the United Nations. Additionally, the group promotes South-South cooperation for development.
Although China does not regard itself as a member of the G-77 it has been providing political and financial support to the group.
On Sunday, Patterson framed his charge to the Comrades against the background of long-held discussions in Jamaica about severing ties with the British monarchy.
He extended condolence to the Royal family and the United Kingdom on the passing Queen Elizabeth II, but said Jamaica must lose no further time in completing its attainment of full and total sovereignty.
"The time has come for us to move to a republic, appointing one of our own as Jamaica's head of state, severing all links to the Privy Council, which is a creature of imperial domination, and devolving a new Caribbean jurisprudence," said the former PNP president.
He reminded the PNP supporters of Jamaica's history of being subjected to chattel slavery, colonial exploitation "and the pernicious plantation system" and said, "The PNP must therefore be a compelling voice in the growing demand for reparative justice and insist not only on an unequivocal apology but also adequate monetary compensation for this heinous crime against humanity".
The country, he said, has "made some progress to overcome these oppressive legacies, tremendously so during the revolutionary changes enacted during the 1970s". However, much remains to be done in order to eliminate "poverty, ignorance, and the denial of access to land and shelter which imperial domination decreed".
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