Thank you China!
Since the developed world cannot ignore you, China, please do place these issues on the table.
Jamaica is a unique country in that it really has no enemies. Jamaica has more than allies; Jamaica has friends. And China is one of them. Jamaica's relationship with China is an exceptional, longstanding relationship based on respect and understanding:
- China does not want Jamaica to be China. Jamaica does not want China to be Jamaica. China is China. Jamaica is Jamaica. Each country is respectful of the other country's right to have its own culture and beliefs.
- Relative to the existing International Financial Institutions (the ones I keep lobbying for reform), China's terms and conditions for assistance are concessionary. China's terms and conditions have neither impoverished nor increased dependency
- When developing or poor countries go to the US for aid - even for necessities- the US says that funds are limited because of budget cuts since wars have to be financed. Do the people in these countries that need aid go unaided? No, because China will ask those same countries, for example: "Do you still need water pipes to distribute the basic necessity of life - water - to your people? We will help"
- When Jamaica has a need, China does not tell Jamaica "Do not need that". International Financial Institutions are happy to tell Jamaica and other developing countries what they should want or need. On the other hand, China will help Jamaica if it can. So, here's an example. Even though China does not play cricket, China financed and built a world class stadium in Jamaica at the Government's request so that Jamaica could meet its obligations in the Caribbean's agreement to host the World Cup of Cricket. Did you hear that part: China does not even play cricket. Cricket is important to Jamaica, and therefore China did not judge; China helped. It is not a small matter. How do you think the American or the British people would feel if they were told by banks they could not host the Olympics because they did not have the infrastructure and should not want it? You see, the banks would not even do that to them.
Some may ask, is China our only friend? No, we have lots. So, let me tell you about another very close friend - and that is Canada.
Today, thanks to canada.com, I read of President Sarkozy's praise of Canada in this piece: An interview with Nicolas Sarkozy. President Sarkozy said: "With its international leverage and new socio-economic model, at the crossroads of the European and American systems, Canada can make a vital contribution to the discussions on this financial situation."
Did you hear that Canada? We all knew Canada was important to this process. At least President Sarkozy has recognized that on his own. So, Canada, you have always been our friend in need; and a friend indeed. Now, please, once again, be a friend in DEED and remember your fellow Commonwealth countries, especially the developing ones.