Articulated Foreign Policy needed in Jamaica.

In this ever-evolving world, a clearly articulated foreign policy with room for change and adjustment is crucial. International relations and diplomacy are much more than diplomats, ambassadors and travelling. In the Jamaican context, diplomatic relations affect all areas of our lives- trade, investment, industry, tourism, education, culture, development, inter alia, are all linked to our foreign relations.

Does Jamaica have a well articulated foreign policy within the context of international and regional organisations such as CARICOM and the OAS?  As the largest English speaking country in the Caribbean, have we after 51 years articulated and employed a holistic and integrated foreign relations policy?

Individual Caricom countries have found themselves subject to the dictates of external forces for far too long.  Even as a collective, the small size of Caricom countries, their population and markets do not make them powerful, they are able to bargain more strongly together than they can individually. Caricom leaders at the upcoming heads of government meeting in Port of Spain must identify the African, Latin American and Pacific countries as well as Commonwealth nations to enhance and strengthen existing economic and trade relationships and to create new strategic ones which can include joint Caribbean overseas diplomatic missions.

Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade across the region must be more aggressive in its establishments of bilateral ties with more developing countries. Jamaica for example has strong and historic relations with the developed world, but we are lagging behind in establishing investment and trade ties with emerging economies in the Middle East. Our presence on the African and Asian continents is still not yet strong enough.

For more than 50 years, Jamaica has had strong diplomatic and cultural relations with strategic powerhouses like Ethiopia, India and Israel; it is therefore surprising that we don’t have a High Commission or Embassy in either of the said countries to propel Jamaica as the ultimate tourism, cultural, trade and investment destination.

If the Jamaican and Caricom governments recognise the need to attract and inspire global foreign investors, would it not be prudent to adopt a new and integrated approach to foreign, trade and immigration policy planning?

 

However Jamaica and other Caricom countries are moving in the right direction to foster trade and tourism relations by waving visas for some countries in Latin America and Eastern Europe. We must leverage our strengths, inclusive of our strategic locations to do more business with countries like India, Russia, Ethiopia, Israel, Qatar, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, South Korea, Indonesia and South Africa. In this regard, the link between Foreign Policy and Trade Policy is going to be crucial. To support the efforts of the region’s private and manufacturing sector, Caricom leaders should explore the establishment of a Caribbean investment and promotion agency with the right mix of government support and private sector initiative to coordinate and actively seek potential investment for the region. .

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One thought on “Articulated Foreign Policy needed in Jamaica.

  1. It is so ironic how all those issues combusted to form a economic failure. You mention several issues that are quite interesting and is a cause for concern.
    1. “we are lagging behind in establishing investment and trade ties with emerging economies in the Middle East..Our presence on the African and Asian continents is still not yet strong enough.”

    There was initial interest of ties in the Middle East with regards to Investments. Passed Iraqi President “Sadam Hussein” had made interest in investing in Jamaica, but at a time of liberal outburst and unfavored relationships between America and many middle east countries, that would have been concerns for Jamaica in more ways than one. (FLASHBACK to Cuba and Jamaica relationship which was dislike by the American government). However, with that said, it is not an excuse of refusing or lagging behind in securing relations with some of these countries. It is more benefiting now when we look at the country’s situation. In regards to Africa and Asia we very much have a influential presence through Sports and Reggae Music, it is up to businesses and government to ride on that bridge of opportunity.

    2.”Jamaica has had strong diplomatic and cultural relations with strategic powerhouses like Ethiopia, India and Israel; it is therefore surprising that we don’t have a High Commission or Embassy in either of the said countries”

    The matter of High commission in major countries has long been overdue, it is with great urgency that we act upon on these opportunity. Most countries are working towards that. Jamaica seem to be more interested in facilitating high commission for countries instead of implementing one in other countries. Our government and business leaders are shallow in their “futuristic investment vision” and are blinded by a minimal space of opportunity in current countries such as the USA, Canada, among others.

    3.”However Jamaica and other Caricom countries are moving in the right direction to foster trade and tourism relations by waving visas for some countries in Latin America and Eastern Europe.”

    This was a slow movement of what should have been established. On the contrary, Jamaica faced the blistering challenges of crime and violence that is sometimes made misleading by journalism as well as economic woes that needed to be improved. Implementing visa to enter the country would have made matters worse in the sense that people had already been doubtful about visiting here. So with the attraction of visa would have urged people to divert to other Caribbean Islands.
    With some form of restoration to Jamaica image, especially after the DUDUS incursion; through sports, music, etc.., we can now experiment on that aspect.

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