Our Readers' Opinions
March 24, 2005
African, Caribbean Diaspora conference held in Jamaica

by Maxwell Haywood

The establishment of an African-Caribbean Commission to develop closer relations between both regions has been proposed.

This was one of the outcomes of the South Africa-African Union- Caribbean Diaspora Conference was held in Jamaica at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston from 16-18 March 2005. The Conference which was co-hosted by South Africa, the African Union(AU) and the Jamaican Government. {{more}}

The conference, held under the theme “Towards Unity and United Action of South Africans and the African Diaspora in the Caribbean for a Better World” also proposed that CARICOM should have observer status in the African Union, a body similar to CARICOM, which unites the countries and people of Africa, and that visa requirements be abolished between both regions.

In addition, it was recommended that more exchanges should be done between Africa and the Caribbean in the areas of culture, sports and education. A call was also made for the establishment of closer intellectual links between Africa and the Caribbean. Furthermore, it was proposed that the Africa-Caribbean conference should be held biennially.

The Jamaica Observer newspaper has quoted the South African High Commissioner to Jamaica Thanduyise Henry Chiliza as saying “It is my hope that the conference injects fresh impetus to the Pan-Africanist movement in the 21st century and strengthen the resolve and determination of all people of African descent to confront, decisively so, the plight and predicament of the African continent.”

The Observer newspaper also quoted Jamaica’s Foreign Minister K D Knights as saying that the conference “provide a platform for reflection on the historic solidarity between the peoples of Africa and the Caribbean, but also strengthen the resolve and determinations of Africans everywhere.”

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves attended the conference and was listed in the agenda of the conference to deliver a presentation on the topic “Towards an African Century: Closer collaboration between Africa and the Caribbean in the conduct of International Relations”.