Help us! - Phillips urges Jamaicans in the diaspora
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has warned that Jamaica and the rest of the region cannot ignore the fact that the agenda of the recently held G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, omitted the concerns of developing countries.
Speaking at the 40th anniversary luncheon of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organisation (NAJASO) in Montego Bay last Friday, Phillips argued that the G20 response was born out of the 2008 global crisis which severely affected developing nations, but the recent meeting demonstrated that the agenda has significantly change.
He said outside of issues relating to migration, matters affecting developing countries were not at the forefront.
In a context of dwindling overseas financial support to the regions and the fact that the global crisis had, and continues to have, a devastating impact on developing countries, Phillips lamented that CARICOM and other small nations were ignored in the discussions.
"The question of the treatment of the developing countries was absent from the agenda. It was only the issues of migration that were discussed, despite the fact that the crisis that gave birth to the original agenda remains," said Phillips.
"So while the world has moved on from the crisis of 2008, the region that was most affected still languishes from the impact."
Phillips hailed NAJASO, which was formed in the 1970s in response to global crises, as a body that remains one of the best internationally organised group of Jamaicans agitating for the interests of the homeland.
The opposition leader said Jamaica and the Caribbean still remain one of the most indebted subregions of the globe and face serious security threats by the fact of location through narcotics flows.
"We in the Caribbean and Jamaica need to have voices in the developed countries that can make representation on our behalf.
"We need the votes in those leading countries to support our voices, as our voices alone cannot sway the decisions in those countries," said Phillips.
He added: "We know that the Caribbean voices have the power to have senators and presidents elected, and I dare say you cannot give it for free. Israel and Cuba are critical examples where the interests of those countries are well represented by their people living in the developed countries."
Pointing to the importance of remittance flows to the national income, Phillips invited members of the diaspora to add investments flows to the agenda.
"It would make a tremendous difference to our country if the diaspora invests in our country, there would be a major change in our jobs and growth potential.
"We have to accept that much of the professional expertise that is available to Jamaica and the Caribbean does not reside here, but can be available to us as they are part of the wider Jamaican community," said Phillips.