Media Center

Press Release


  September 30, 2008

Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, arguing for more help to build institutional capacity in Caribbean and other “middle income” countries that are heavily indebted, told hemispheric diplomats that the Organization of American States (OAS) could play a vital role.

Prime Minister Golding told a protocolary session of the OAS Permanent Council that the hemispheric body could put more emphasis on helping Member States with more technical assistance for institutional capacity-building, “so that we can become competitors in the new global race.” Many of the countries lack the capacity to penetrate markets; and lack adequate human resources and education and training capacity, as well as mechanisms to empower the poor.

The Permanent Council’s Chairman, Belize Ambassador Nestor Mendez, introduced the Jamaican leader after which Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, who had met privately with the Prime Minister prior to the public session, formally welcomed Mr. Golding to the hemispheric organization. Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin was also on hand for the session that was specially convened in honor of the Jamaican Prime Minister.

“Our financial arrangements do not have the capacity to facilitate the flow of resources into those areas and those activities where real wealth can be created,” the Prime Minister stated. He explained that the systems that influence economic decisions and financial activities “do not know how to direct those resources into areas where they can be developmental in their effect,” where they can create real wealth and improve productivity and the economic conditions of the entire global community.

“The OAS mandate cannot sit comfortably with a situation where, within our 34 member countries, there are such deep pockets of poverty coexisting with such towering images of prosperity,” Mr. Golding told the Member State ambassadors, diplomats and international experts at the Permanent Council session.

Renewing his plea for a special system to assist middle income countries, Golding said “the continued prosperity of the developed world depends on the economic conditions of the developing world because we represent a substantial part of the market for the goods and services of developed countries.” He said the OAS must be more than “a sorting house where we matriculate countries into new exclusive clubs—those that have graduated to the point where they can now be classified as developed countries and we send them on their way.”

Golding spoke as well about shared aspirations to make the Americas “a central example of collective, collaborative action to ensure prosperity for everyone.” He assured the Secretary General of his and Jamaica’s continued contribution to the hemispheric Organization’s efforts to “transform the dreams and hopes of our people into the reality and experience of their daily lives.” This, he said, must be part of the of the OAS’ mission in the new millennium.

Golding also described the current financial crisis facing the world as “symptomatic of the interdependence of the entire world community,” warning of the need for solid leadership to manage the situation and prevent “cataclysmic” impacts on the nations of the Americas.

The Jamaican leader emphasized the need for a comprehensive, fundamental reform of the multilateral financial system, lamenting that “the multilateral framework has for too long been oblivious to the fact that these changes require changes in the machinery that seeks to guide, if not regulate, the world’s financial arrangements,” Golding observed.

On climate change, he warned that provisions for the sale of carbon credits may not necessarily lead to a reduction in global warming. He therefore called for limits to carbon credit purchases, because countries responsible for producing most of the emissions may find a way to not reduce emissions by purchasing carbon credits to make up for their own failure.

In welcoming the Jamaican Prime Minister, Secretary General Insulza cited OAS support in many key areas, including in monitoring the last general elections. Insulza expressed regret at the loss of life from recent storms and hurricanes in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean, and applauded the Jamaican advocacy for special regime for the middle income countries that are straining under debt service burdens.

Insulza told Golding: “You are absolutely correct that the current system of classification, which deprives countries who have graduated out of less developed country status from receiving financing on favorable terms and accessing other poverty alleviating incentives, is simply serving to drown these countries in crippling debt.” Many OAS Member States now find themselves in this very difficult position, said Secretary General Insulza.

Reference: E-371/08