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Jamaican envoy urges more activity on job-creation and economic development

Delivering his maiden address to the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council, Jamaica’s Permanent Representative, Dr. Gordon Shirley, yesterday urged the hemispheric body to be more active in promoting job-creation and economic development, particularly in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries and the smaller economies of the region.The OAS could do so by fostering and supporting activities towards “an expansion of trade, investment flows and trade-oriented technical assistance into the region,” Ambassador Shirley told member state Permanent Representatives and other international officials, during a regular Permanent Council sitting.

“We will, in turn, pursue actions to strengthen the productive capacity of our firms in an effort to ensure that our products and services can, in due course, compete in a liberalized global market.”

A University of the West Indies (UWI) management professor until recently, Ambassador Shirley also touched on how illegal drugs, firearms and terrorism threaten security in the Americas.  Arguing that these scourges have become “borderless monsters roaming the entire planet,” the Jamaican diplomat said they are also jeopardizing the peace and prosperity of nations.  He warned that “the countries of the CARICOM region are particularly vulnerable to these challenges.”

In underscoring “notable successes” by Jamaica in combating illegal drugs and weapons, he cited law enforcement collaboration with counterpart agencies in the USA, UK and CARICOM and Central American countries, with several drugs lords arrested.  “The successes notwithstanding, we must remain vigilant if we are to defeat these scourges with their disastrous consequences,” Shirley argued.

Stressing Jamaica’s strong support for a multilateral response to these issues, “given the transnational character of these threats,” the Ambassador noted his country’s longstanding support for the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), developed by the OAS’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) as a collaborative strategy to measure the hemisphere’s progress in fighting illegal drugs.  He listed several OAS and other international treaties to which Jamaica is party.  Referring to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, he said he would soon deposit Jamaica’s instruments of accession to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.


Ambassador Gordon Shirley restated Jamaica’s commitment to OAS and to the Organization’s modernization, and cited among the most pressing tasks before the hemispheric Organization the need to help promote economic development; tackle security threats; and help Haiti tackle its political and social problems.