Prime Minister Mia Mottley today made a strong case for African, Caribbean and Pacific States to reorder their affairs to become a global united force in a tough, changing environment.
As she started her speech before the 79-nation grouping in Kenya, Mottley frankly questioned: “Does the ACP at this point of our destiny stand as a fast track to the future or is it a relic of the past?”
Noting that it often takes “a crisis of legitimacy: a moment of illegitimacy” to trigger institutions to change, Mottley suggested that such a time had come for the grouping that was established in Guyana with the signing of the Georgetown Agreement in 1975.
She said: “It is clear that we must evolve from the cooperation contemplated initially in the Georgetown Agreement, for the protection of the export of commodities from former colonies to Europe, to a relationship among ourselves that sees ourselves not only dwelling, as my good friend, the president of Ghana, indicated, on the numbers that we have, but on the quality and scholarship of our thought and our commitment to take action.”
The revision of the revised the Georgetown Agreement is a major agenda item at the two-day summit and Mottley suggested it was the opportunity for member states to forge a new relationship where countries commit , “not simply to know about each other, but to know each other”.
She continued: “By virtue of the revised Georgetown Agreement, we can forge an international organization that is suited to us and our future.
“We the members of the ACP must function on our own terms, not on the terms set by others.
“Now is the moment where we have a platform to be a common regulatory space, to uphold common minimum standards of human rights, law, business and environmental standards; to be a space of easier mobility of ideas, culture, people, goods, services and capital.
“These are the main economic weapons of today, not the size and direction only of official assistance and aid.
“The ACP cannot be a force for global good unless we collectively own that change.
“And we all know that lasting and sustainable change, resilient change, cannot be alien, cannot be imposed from outside, cannot reflect standards that we don’t own.
“Lasting change must come from within.”
Mottley urged her colleagues to reflect on these issues as she used the international stage to lobby for serious action to address the climate crisis.
Noting that ACP countries were on the frontlines of the climate change battle and reeling under its impact, she warned that Government finances were being stressed to breaking points.
The Prime Minister said: “Equally, the cost of insurance has become prohibitive for households and businesses in our part of the world, and we ask: Where shall our economies go, given that most security and contracts require the procurement of insurance on the part of businesses if they are to participate fully in a globally integrated economy?
“These are the real issues our people are facing on a daily basis, and we would do well to confront them and to advocate their resolution as a matter of urgency.
“I recommend that one of the early actions of the incoming Secretary-General should be the urgent establishment of a task force to see how we can resolve these issues, because in many instances scale is required in order for us to be able to turn the corner, particularly with respect to the difficult issue of insurance.”