February 19, 2020

Former Jamaican PM calls for regional integration on Venezuela


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From Caribbean News Now

PJ Patterson (UWI TV)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Percival James Patterson, widely known as PJ Patterson, has advised Caribbean nations to support a united stance on the political crisis in , where opposition forces supported by the United States and several other western countries are pursuing to oust President Nicolas Maduro from office.

Patterson was speaking at the launch of his book, “My Political Journey” at the Sagicor School of Business on the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) he said that division would be suicidal amidst concerns that the 15 member grouping remains separated on the crisis in the Latin American nation.

The former Jamaican prime minister reminded regional leaders that they had reached a common position persistent with the purposes of the treaty that repudiated external intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

“Regional leaders need to communicate with one voice on the situation,” Patterson added, “And that a visible indication to the positions taken in March by the leaders of The Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica and Saint Lucia, who met with US President Donald Trump on the crisis,” he said.

“We expect all our 14 leaders to act in accordance with that decision and not to veer off in support [of those] who have a contrary view, whether in the halls of the OAS (Organisation of American States) or the corridors at Mar-a-Lago.”

Patterson reiterated that the Caribbean is a powerful entity but only as a united voice, however, remain vulnerable to “reverting to a time we thought we had passed long ago to the days of subservience and being subject to the dictates of others based on their interest.”

“In all we seek to do, I regard the pursuit of a common foreign policy as fundamental. It wasn’t put in the Chaguaramas Treaty by accident. It was because we recognized this as vital for us as small states of limited means and might.

“The Caribbean, we at the OAS are 14 nations strong; we have the voting power. Once we assert it as a single bloc to safeguard and protect our sovereign control, the Caribbean will prevail,” he added.

Patterson took the opportunity to offer additional guidance to his host, prime minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, on the regional integration movement.

“The failure of the federal experience has left a deleterious impact in the course of creating regional trust and confidence,” he said, adding ‘we still suspect each other and that has impeded us in tackling certain stubborn problems that have which face the region, he said.

“I mention but two, regional travel and transportation and of course the central issue about which Sir Shridath Ramphal, a member of the West Indian Commission on regional integration spoke, which emanated from a recommendation of his report, the whole issue of governance,” he continued.

“And I say prime minister Mottley, with the utmost benefit of experience, whatever you do, CARICOM will never achieve its objectives unless you have within it somebody, some group, some identifiable centre that is responsible for ensuring that decisions, when taken, are not forgotten but acted upon,” Patterson said.

On recurring issues in the region, Patterson also reiterated that his, “Experience has left him in no doubt, and more so as we seek to confront historic problems and complex issues, the deepening and widening of regional economic integration is an inescapable imperative for the Caribbean people.

“For us, climate change is almost like what it is to the pig in a bacon and egg breakfast. We have to be looking at the knowledge economy. We have to be looking at the creative industries where we excel. We have to provide lasting security by leading the fight against guns and narcotics as we build a zone of peace in the Caribbean,” he said.

Mottley in reply said, “I have come to recognise that Patterson represents for me that pre-eminent Caribbean statesman who has mastered every aspect of political life. The nobility of purpose, the gentility of manner, the calmness and expression and simply, a gentleman in all respects.’

Widely regarded as a master political strategist, Patterson has published his memoirs “My Political Journey” an account of his time as an active and successful participant in the political and social development of Jamaica and Caribbean spanning the 1950’s to early 2000.

Patterson was Jamaica’s sixth prime minister. He is the only person since Jamaica’s independence in 1962, to serve three consecutive terms as prime minister.

For more on this story go to; https://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/2019/06/03/former-jamaican-pm-calls-for-regional-integration-on-venezuela/

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