T&T archbishop says EU-OACPS agreement imposes 'ideology that is not ours'

By Hanan Redwan Published on November 19, 2023
T&T archbishop says EU-OACPS agreement imposes 'ideology that is not ours'

Roman Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon has criticised the recently signed Samoa Agreement that will will serve as an overarching legal framework for the relations between the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) for the next 20 years.

The agreement was signed last Wednesday in Apai and succeeds the Cotonou Agreement.

It covers subjects such as sustainable development and growth, human rights and peace and security.

The provisional application of the agreement will start on 1 January 2024. It will enter into force upon consent by the European Parliament and ratification by all EU member states and at least two thirds of the 79 OACPS members.

But Archbishop Gordon said that while the agreement is “written ans a trade agreement and an agreement of support, financially etc for the African Caribbean and Pacific nations, embedded in that agreement and when it is signed it is for 20 years and cannot be revoked …is anyone who signs that agreement will have abortion legislation in their countries.

“They will have to impose abortion legislation, transgender, LBGTQ, comprehensive sex education, a whole range of values will be imposed because of the signing of that document,” he added.

Media reports said that Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica as well as Namibia are OACPS countries that have not yet signed the agreement that the European Commissioner for International Partnership, Jutta Urpilainen, said provides “a modernised framework to revitalize our relations with the largest grouping of partner countries to provide a platform for dialogue and coordination to face the challenges of our times together”.

Archbishop Gordon said the “EU is imposing upon us an ideology that is not ours and a value system that is not ours.

“And if we don’t understand and wake up and smell the coffee quickly we will find ourselves with values, with laws, with expectations and with things being touted as right that has nothing to do with us Caribbean people.

“Wake up and smell the coffee. It ain’t far away, it is right here,” the head of the Roman Catholic Church here said, adding that he was thankful to God that the Keith Rowley administration has not signed the document.

“Thank God for that. Our government got wind of it, have seen and understood and they are saying they don’t have enough information to be able to sign….Thank God for that. Jamaica came out clearly and said we are not for sale.

“They came out up front, publicly and said we are not for sale. It is the rest of the small islands of the Caribbean that I worry about today, because who ever signs that document will then have to impose laws on their people that are not in keeping with the culture, values of us Caribbean people and it will be a colonial imposition one more time on small fragile states, on Africa, Pacific and us here in the Caribbean,” Archbishop Gordon said.

The ACP-EU partnership is one of the oldest and most comprehensive frameworks for cooperation between the EU and third countries. The denomination of the new agreement was agreed at the 46th session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers now underway here.

OACPS Secretary General, Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, said the new treaty has key provisions for regular review and the involvement of non-state actors.

“I think that an important aspect of this agreement is that partners can sit together every five years to look into where they can do better. I think this engagement is very important for the region.”

“Another of the important aspects is that as we move from Cotonou to Samoa, we see engagement will be more and more collective, with civil society participating in all major issues that our regions face. The new agreement fosters large participation from civil society,” he added.

The new Samoa Agreement outlines common principles and covers areas including human rights, democracy and governance, peace and security, human and social development

inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development, environmental sustainability and climate change migration and mobility

The agreement includes a common foundation, which applies to all parties, combined with three regional protocols for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific with a focus on the specific needs of each region.

The 27 EU member states and the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries together represent around two billion people and more than half of the seats at the United Nations.

The EU said with this new agreement, the parties will be better equipped to address emerging needs and global challenges, such as climate change, ocean governance, migration, health, peace and security.

Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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