Consular Corps of Jamaica
Banquet 2004 In honour of
The Most Hon. P. J. Patterson
Prime Minister of Jamaica
December 2, 2004
| Seated at the head table from l-r: Hon. Grantley Stephenson, Vice Dean; Mrs. Patricia Foote; the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson, Prime Minister of Jamaica; Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Cooke, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke, Governor General of Jamaica; Mrs. Sonia Brouwer, Mrs. Judith Stephenson and Hon. Wilhelm Brouwer, Director of the World Federation of Consuls. At Podium is Hon. Arnold Foote, Dean
of the Consular Corps of Jamaica.
Address by Hon. Arnold Foote, CD. JP
Dean of the Consular Corps of Jamaica
History is about great events and outstanding leaders who have shaped our destiny.
Tonight, we come to honour a great Jamaican and an outstanding Caribbean son who has had a hand in shaping the destiny of Caribbean peoples. No one is more deserving of this great honour.
The Most Honourable Percival James Patterson is Jamaicaís longest serving Prime Minister but the quality of his innings must not be measured by the mere duration of his occupancy at the crease. His fine innings is characterized by studied determination, excruciating patience and unbelievable precision.
Prime Minister Patterson first ministerial appointment was as Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism in 1972. He became one of the principal participants in the evolution of the Caribbean Free Trade Area into CARICOM. That first appointment also gave him his grounding in the diplomatic world. The diplomatic community would agree with me tonight when I say that he is always the diplomat extraordinaire.
He took up duties as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in 1978 and continued to hone his skills as a negotiator par excellence. Always, he prefers conciliation over confrontation. Those skills have served him well as even in a radically changed world he has continued to tend the flickering flames of collectivism and cooperation.
He has come to be respected world-wide as an astute international statesman who has made a mark in such fora as the United Nations, CARICOM, the Group of 77, the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, the Association of Caribbean States and many others.
Prime Minister Patterson has utilised his advocacy and negotiating skills in the international arena, especially as one of the leading architects of the Convention between the ACP states and the European Union, which was first signed in 1975.
When Mr. Patterson became Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1992, he articulated his philosophical underpinning that would define the rules of engagement between the Caribbean and the rest of the world. For him, regionalism represents a new compass from which a united Caribbean could re-define its relations with its neighbours and the rest of the world.
It was obvious to the discerning listener that Patterson sought more than accommodation for the Region on the world scene. He wanted the Caribbean Region be co-determinants of the new world order.
For more than a decade Prime Minister Patterson has defined a foreign policy that has been responding to, as well as influencing the pace, direction and nature of globalisation. Under his chairmanship, Jamaica has had lead involvement in the Group of 15 developing countries and CARICOM.
The country ís successful bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2000-1 with support from Governments from all geographic regions testifies to the high esteem in which Jamaica and Prime Minister Patterson are held around the world.
Mr. Patterson has been at the forefront of negotiations at a time of the most rapid and fundamental shifts in world trade. He was instrumental in preparing the ACP group of countries for the successful negotiation of post-Lome (Cotonou) Agreement which was signed in 2000.
CARICOM, CARIFORUM and the ACP have benefited from his tremendous experience and his advocacy for different and special treatment of small states in world trade. He successfully argued for a transition period to enable developing countries to take advantage of the existing market access arrangements within the European Union and to promote regional and sub-regional integration.
He has been intimately involved in negotiations to create the Free Trade Area of the Americas. His work as Chair of the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on External Negotiations has given the Region a stronger voice in trade negotiations.
It has been a long journey for Prime Minister Patterson. But it has been a great one. He played a critical role in moving the Caribbean Court of Justice from idea to fruition.
The CSME is here. Prime Minister Patterson was there at the beginning when the germ of an idea started in 1972 to transform CARIFORUM into CARICOM. He was there in 1989 in Grande Anse Grenada when the course was set to deepen the integration efforts. He now has the honour of seeing this great vision turn into reality. Not many leaders have had that privilege.
His is not merely a personal quest. No one is more aware of the enormous responsibility that history has placed on him. He knows that he carries the great hope of Marcus Garvey for African interconnectedness, Norman Manleyís passionate belief in the right of self-determination and Michael Manley’s conviction of the equality of all countries in the world nation system.
But he is equally driven by his own great vision of a Region without borders and to quote his mentor Norman Manley ìa Community that provides a wider field for individual ambition.
Mr. Prime Minister, In recognition of all that you have done and in recognition of the way in which you engage others-with consistent civility, gentle persuasiveness and quiet dignity, we present you with two outstanding awards.
The Lignum Vitae Award, which is the highest award of the Consular Corps of Jamaica and represents strength, determination and character, in recognition of your excellent work as Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade and for your continued outstanding leadership of Jamaican and Caribbean causes in the international arena.
Tonight you will also be receiving the FICAC Star in Solid Gold, which is the highest honour given by the World Federation of Consuls.
Mr. Prime Minister, as a statesman who is today at the height of your powers, as an example of dignity, decency, integrity and civility, you stand tall as a shining example for us all.
We all thank you sir.