Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller joined a number of heads of governments at the United Nations recently to discuss the topic of “Peace and Security Challenges Facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS)” during an open debate with the Security Council.
Invited to give the Jamaican and Caribbean perspective during a panel discussion on the issue, the leader made a one-day visit on the eve of Emancipation Day (Aug. 1) to emphasize the “urgent need for tangible development financing support for SIDS.”
PM Simpson Miller outlined Jamaica’s efforts to secure its people, protect its borders and participate in global peace and security initiatives. She underscored the close link between national, regional and global peace and security and economic and social development issues.
She said Jamaica and CARICOM countries faced adversities because “transnational organized crime represents the gravest threat to peace and security” there.
She blamed “open coastline which facilitate drug trafficking in drugs, arms, ammunition and people — particularly women and children” adding that “money laundering activities enable transnational criminal activity to thrive in our region.”
“In 2013, 70 percent of all homicides committed in the Caribbean sub-region featured the use of a firearm.”
Using an eight-page guideline to emphasize her concerns, she also detailed measures necessary to enable small island nations to overcome security challenges.
“We have invested heavily in technology, equipment, and training for our security forces within the constraints of our limited resources.”
However, with all the effort executed it seems they have been “insufficient” in improving national security in dealing with transnational crime.”
In her message she thanked the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Finland and Norway for supporting and partnering with SIDS.
With their assistance Jamaica she said Jamaica now has “just under 20 police officers serving in United Nations mission in Haiti and the African Union / UN operation in Darfur, Sudan”
The Caribbean country has also aided with UN peacekeeping activities in Namibia, Timor-Leste, Bosnia, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
She also broached the topic of climate change.
“This is critical for building resilience in the face of climate change and to overcome the constraints imposed by small size, resource scarcity geography and inappropriate global classification based mainly on per capita income.”
Other panelists representing SIDS member states were: Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, the prime minister of Samoa and Jean Pail Adam, the Seychelles minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy.