Phillips urges Diaspora to influence world leaders more

BY HORACE HINES
Staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips is urging members of the Diaspora to be powerbrokers in the election of leaders in developed countries who can sway decisions in favour of the Caribbean people.

“We in the Caribbean, and certainly Jamaica, urgently need to have the voices who can influence decisions in those centres of global decision-making to be raised on our behalf,” Dr Phillips, who is also President of the People's National Party, declared.

“We need to leverage the Caribbean vote to influence policy in the United States, Canada... because our (political representatives) voices alone will not sway the leading decision-makers in your countries.”

He pointed out that when the successive presidents of the United States, such as Barack Obama and his successor recently visited Poland, “it is not because Poland looms so large in geopolitical considerations.

“At least, in part, it is because of the Polish vote in Illinois and Massachusetts and other places,” Dr Phillips remarked.

“But there are many states, I don't need to list them for you where the Caribbean vote is critical and will be increasingly critical in getting people elected.”

Speaking at The National Association of J'can and Supportive Organizations 40th Anniversary Luncheon at Secrets Hotel in Montego Bay, St James, on Friday, Dr Phillips argued that he was taken aback after no mention was made of the treatment of the developing countries at the recent G20 summit in Germany.

The 2017 G20 Hamburg Summit was the 12th meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20), which was held from July 7 to 8 at Hamburg Messe, in the city of Hamburg, Germany.

“I was struck by the recent Hamburg meeting of the G20, Group of 20, attended by everyone. I wasn't struck because of the demonstrations, nor was I struck because of the handshakes or lack of handshakes or anything like that. But I was struck by the fact that... if I am to go by the reports coming from the meeting, that the question of the treatment of the developing countries had been displaced from the agenda of consideration,” he expressed.

“It only appeared in the treatment of migration because of the migration flows from Africa into Europe and from the war-torn area of the Middle East. And it's striking because the G20 was developed as a specific response to assist the world to emerge from the crisis of 2008/2009. It was a specific proposal emanating from the Administration of President Barack Obama at the time.”

He lamented that the world may have moved on since the financial meltdown, but not quite so in the Caribbean.

“Growth certainly has redounded in Asia and in Europe, and while we might have here about what should be the level of growth expected in North America, growth and employment in North America have returned to the levels preceeding 2008. In the Caribbean, however, that crisis persists. Yet our influence in the world as a grouping of small countries is not sufficient to change the agenda of discourse in the global community,” the PNP president pointed out.

“So while the world has moved on from the crisis of 2008, the region in which that crisis was deepest and [had its] longest duration still languishes, and I daresay on the margins of the concerns of the great countries and great powers of the world, including the G20,” Dr Phillips stated.

NAJASO is a non-profit, tax- exempt, umbrella association of Jamaican and supportive organisations throughout the US and internationally.

“I don't think anyone can dispute that NAJASO is the most successful of Jamaican umbrella organisations in the United States and abroad and is a world-respected non-profit organisation, which has facilitated businesses, individuals and organisations in making charitable commitments to Jamaica, and indeed in assisting Jamaica, in every facet of its efforts to become a respected member of the international community,” Dr Phillips said.

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