Jamaica Observer | 14 December 2023
Jamaica signs Samoa Agreement
KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – The Jamaican Government on Thursday signed the Samoa Agreement at the headquarters of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) in Brussels, Belgium.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium and Representative to the European Union, Symone Betton-Nayo, inked the document on Jamaica’s behalf.
In making the announcement, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, in a statement, said the Government also used the opportunity to deposit an Interpretative Declaration to affirm the primacy of the Jamaican Constitution and laws and its contextual understanding thereof.
“The government’s decision to sign the agreement was taken in the interest of the country’s development goals and its partnership arrangements with fellow OACPS countries and the EU. It was also taken in the context of Jamaica’s close involvement in the negotiating process which lasted over two years, and the scrupulous assessment of the provisions to ensure the agreement’s alignment with Jamaica’s Constitution and domestic laws,” Johnson Smith said.
She explained that during the negotiation process, the government sought and incorporated feedback from a diverse range of stakeholders.
“Again, I emphasise that the final text of the agreement, which respects and aligns with Jamaica’s domestic legal framework, is testament to our commitment to the inclusive and comprehensive discussions at the local level with various stakeholders,” she said.
The Samoa Agreement, which succeeds and replicates many provisions of the 22-year old Cotonou Agreement, aims to strengthen technical cooperation between the EU and its Member States, and the Member States and Regions of the OACPS.
It also represents a continuation of Jamaica’s longstanding and beneficial partnership with the EU, a relationship that has supported Jamaica’s economic growth and development initiatives for over four decades.
“As we move forward with the Samoa Agreement, it is imperative to recognise that this decision is rooted in a balanced approach, respecting our national sovereignty while engaging in meaningful international cooperation. As Cotonou did for 22 years, this agreement supports relationships and creates opportunities for Jamaica in a manner that is consistent with our laws and societal values. This is an agreement centred on a holistic approach to development and cooperation, spanning a wide range of important fields,” Johnson Smith noted.
Ahead of the decision made by the Cabinet, and in response to the interest of some sectors of society, foreign ministry officials, together with representatives of the Ministry of Education and Youth and the Planning Institute of Jamaica, convened an engagement session involving approximately 18 civil society groups, to share information on the Samoa Agreement and to clarify important points of concern.
The Samoa Agreement, which unites more than 106 countries and approximately 1.5 billion people, will govern strengthened relations between the OACPS and EU for the next 20 years.