Ambassador Vasciannie urges strengthening of Jamaica's US impact
Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States of America Stephen Vasciannie delivered a lecture in the 2014 Martin and Syma Mendelsohn Lecture Series in International Relations at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, last Thursday.
The lecture, under the title 'Jamaica and its place in the global landscape' served as part of the Embassy's efforts to strengthen Jamaica's impact in the US.
Addressing an audience of more than 150 persons, including the Provost of Brooklyn College, Professor Tramontano and Associate Provost Cheng, deans, students, and members of the general public, Vasciannie emphasised that in foreign policy matters, Jamaica consistently sought to project itself beyond the constraints of its small size and challenges presented by history.
For Vasciannie, Jamaica's "larger than size" foreign policy could be explained by the country's commitment to principled relations with other states, respect for international law, democratic orientation, and willingness to engage in vigorous debate in defense of human rights.
Noting that Jamaica pursued its policy initiatives mainly through bilateral and regional arrangements, and at the United Nations and the Organization of American States, the Jamaican Ambassador argued that the country's diplomatic efforts also turned significantly on economic initiatives.
His lecture, therefore, considered aspects of Jamaica's "dependent underdevelopment", financial circumstances and challenges in the post-2008 environment, proposals and arrangements for the logistics hub as well as recent infrastructural improvements such as the Flat Bridge Bypass, the North Coast Highway, the Falmouth Port, and tourism initiatives.
In summarising some of Jamaica's other foreign policy perspectives, Vasciannie noted that Jamaica is an active member of the Small Island Developing States group, supports reform of the United Nations Security Council, argues for peaceful resolution of all international disputes, supports a two-state result in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in keeping with Resolutions 242 and 338 of the UN Security Council, and actively promotes the elimination of violence against women and girls.
On the question of Jamaica's relationship with the US, the Ambassador stressed that both countries work positively together on a variety of issues, including trade promotion through the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the fight against narco-trafficking, opposition to terrorism, and human rights promotion and protection.
"Of course, Jamaica's relationship with the US is also strengthened by the presence of the strong and loyal Jamaican diasporic community in places such as Brooklyn, New York. Many of these persons have migrated from Jamaica for economic reasons, but in their hearts, "no whey no better than yard", the Ambassador said.