Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Troubled by EU's trespass on sovereignty

Published:Monday | December 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM


In The Sunday Gleaner dated December 11, 2016, I read the article 'EU not linking aid to gay rights, death penalty' with mixed emotions. This because while the Union announces it has no plans to use aid to impose compliance on us, I still believe there is cause for concern.

This I found in the EU's emphasis for respect of its values through statements such as, "But ... our values are not respected ...", and "We ... on values that are important to us".

These 'buts' following Malgorzata Wasilewska's statement of no conditionality, are unsettling for two main reasons. First, if there "never has been and never will be" any conditionality, why are there any buts and the need for any continued discussion on the issues? Second, even within the parameters of those buts, why is the emphasis on the values of the EU?

I have always noticed that whenever there is any discussion on Jamaica's compliance on any issue, it has always been through the eyes of the external entity, whether it is the United Nations or now the EU. While I must admit human rights issues are global issues, I nevertheless ask the following: What happens to our values in all of these? Aren't we an independent nation with our own beliefs? Shouldn't these beliefs be taken into consideration if we are really looking at the rights of all citizens? Can the emphasis be on the ALL?

I am dying to see what we believe as a people asked to become the focal point in these discussions whenever the country is the focus, instead of reading statements of fear that financial might will be used to force us to fall in line.

There is no doubt that as a people, we benefit tremendously from these international entities; nonetheless, we must have our own voice, and that voice must be heard.