By ARTHUR HALL, Jamaica Observer,
US regional army commander cautions of possible ill effects of relationship with Beijing
JUST days into the first official visit to China by Prime Minister Andrew Holness the top United States military official in the region, Admiral Craig Faller, has listed that country among those which do not hold the values shared by Jamaica and America.
Faller also listed two other allies of Jamaica — Cuba and Venezuela — among those countries which do not share commitment to democracy and the rule of law that the US shares with Jamaica.
According to Faller, China has legitimate economic interest in countries around the world, including Jamaica, but based on its model of government its role in other states could lead to a long-term loss of sovereignty, secrecy, and a lack of transparency in operations.
He further warned that the relationship with China could lead to non-adherence to international standards of the rule of law, breaches of labour rights, and a lack of protection of the environment.
Faller — who is commander of the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) which is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations and security cooperation in its assigned area of responsibility, including Central America and South America and the Caribbean — was addressing a media briefing at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) headquarters at Up Park Camp yesterday.
He said, with the shared values, the US is prepared to work with Jamaica and other countries around the region to deal with security issues and other threats.
The admiral noted that the US and Jamaica have had a long, strong relationship and declared that this is expected to continue for some time.
This was endorsed by Jamaica’s Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, who had earlier told the media briefing that the partnership between Jamaica and the US is a very significant one.
“It is significant because we are friends, we have shared populations, we are in the same neighbourhood, and it just makes sense that we work together,” said General Meade.
“It makes sense we work together because we share the same threats, natural and man-made. The threats that we share, whether natural or man-made, recognise no boundaries. So the natural disasters that we face, they move across territories without fear or favour … and they can affect us all equally.
“The human challenges that we face also don’t respect boundaries, so the major organised criminal networks will operate and they operate best where there are gaps between our sovereign states,” added General Meade as he argued that it is important for countries which face these common threats to work together.
The US has provided training and equipment support to the JDF over the years and General Meade said this cooperation has helped the force to increase its capacity and that is expected to continue for some time.