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Jamaica’s Prime Minister urges regional cooperation for United Third Border

MIAMI – Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has called for regional collaboration in the creation of a united Third Border, noting that the initiative could only become a reality through the building of an interdependent development partnership.

Mrs. Simpson-Miller, who was addressing a plenary dinner held on Tuesday, (December 5) at the Miami Intercontinental Hotel, as part of the 30th annual conference on the Caribbean Basin Initiative, said that a united Third Border would address the region’s development challenges and contribute to building the economic security of the Caribbean.

Such a move, she argued, would allow for greater competitiveness and prosperity as it related to global realities.

According to the Prime Minister, efforts to create a united Third Border must include a strengthening of economic partnership taking into account the special needs of small vulnerable economies.

Noting that the small economies of the region faced a number of challenges, including rising energy costs, the Prime Minister called for “a united effort to find collaborative mechanisms to mitigate the adverse effects of high energy costs to oil import dependent economies of the region”.

She further pointed to the need for new arrangements to be put in place to secure current and future access to the United States’ market, noting that the revitalization of the US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council earlier this year, should serve as a platform for further dialogue to implement issues relevant to the region.

The people of the Caribbean, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted further, must be involved in the process to create a united Third Border, being active participants in the process. “Any trade and investment arrangement within the context of a united Third Border must be development focused and people centered,” she stated.

She urged Caribbean leaders to make “bold” decisions in support of the region’s people, with focus placed on human development, human rights and poverty eradication, pointing out that underemployment and its associated problems of poverty and underdevelopment, was probably the most significant development challenge for the Third Border initiative.

The three-day conference, which ended Thursday (December 6) was held under the theme: ‘A United Third Border: The future of US/Caribbean Trade and Investment Relations and the need for building a development partnership’. It was hosted by the Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA) Committee.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller arriving at the 30th annual Conference on the Caribbean Basin at the Miami Intercontinental Hotel. (JIS)

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pat Sinclair and Jamaica’s Consul General to the Southern United States, Ricardo Allicock.

Announced by President George W. Bush during the Third Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in April 2001, Third Border Initiative is aimed at deepening United States cooperation with Caribbean nations and enhance economic development and integration of the region. Focus areas are diplomacy, security, the economy, environment, health and education.

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