Hanna says Gov't needs to speak up on foreign affairs
Lisa Hanna, the opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs, believes that Jamaica has been too silent on critical issues related to international relations.
"The United States has announced trade sanctions and tariffs. Britain has decided to withdraw from the European Union and to re-engage the Commonwealth. The prime minister has said nothing on these game-changers in international trade," said Lisa Hanna, while delivering the first Sectoral Debate presentation in her new portfolio.
She added, "Mr Speaker, anyone who doesn't take seriously President [Donald] Trump, or the imminent danger that some of his policies can bring to Jamaica, does so at their peril."
Hanna also argued that Jamaica needs to use its position as chair of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states to ramp up engagement with the European Union (EU) on the Cotonou Agreement, which expires in February 2020. The agreement provides a framework for the ACP and the EU to engender political development and economic cooperation.
The opposition spokesperson asserted that Jamaica ought to amplify its voice as she contended that issues affecting the ACP could be sidelined by EU matters such as Brexit.
Hanna explained, "The negotiation cycle, Mr Speaker, has started, and now, more than ever, there's need for an adaptation of strategies and certainly aid-for-trade for some of our Caribbean nations and, perhaps, even Jamaica."
She continued, "Sadly, the Government's doctrine-of-doing-nothing-foreign-policy strategy has weakened our engagement and international respect built through a history of distinguished leadership by not only P.J. Patterson, but Hugh Shearer, K.D. Knight, and Anthony Hylton."