Former PM Patterson among Caribbean leaders for ‘State of the Black World Conference’

April 10, 2023  -Former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson is among several Caribbean leaders who will speak at a major Black conference in the United States later this month, the advocacy group organizing the event has announced.

Don Rojas, the Vincentian-born director of communications and international relations for the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, said the prime ministers of Barbados and Grenada, will also feature at the State of the Black World Conference V in Baltimore, Maryland from April 19-23.

Rojas, a former press secretary for slain Grenada Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, said Patterson will deliver a keynote address on the opening day focusing on “the mission to transform post-colonial societies in the Caribbean and Africa and to enhance democracy and development in those parts of the Black world.”

Rojas noted that Patterson holds the distinction of being the longest serving prime minister in the history of Jamaica.

Currently, he is “Statesman in Residence” at the PJ Patterson Center for Africa-Caribbean advocacy at the University of the West Indies.

The Center coordinates public policy and advocacy in fostering development relations between the Caribbean and Africa, and promotes dialogue at the level of Heads of Government, Rojas said.

Dr Ron Daniels, convenor of the conference and IBW president, said, “we are honored and delighted to have this prestigious global statesman be engaged with the conference.

“Former Prime Minister Patterson will bring an unprecedented depth of experience, wisdom and guidance to this historic gathering that will help the global Pan-African movement set a course for the rest of the 21st Century,” he added.

Rojas said Patterson is credited with having laid the groundwork for the economic growth of modern Jamaica, “presiding over massive infrastructure development including the construction of highways, modernization of airports, telecom liberalization and expansion, as well as significant foreign investment inflows to the country’s tourism industry.”

Rojas said the institute has received confirmation that Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley will attend the conference as a special guest in addressing the conference, which is organized around the theme, “Global Africans Rising, Empowerment Reparations and Healing.”

IBW said Mottley has emerged as “a major figure in the Caribbean advocating for stronger ties with the African Union and a global emphasis on reparatory justice with Africa playing a more active role.”

IBW noted that Mottley has called for a global summit on reparations in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Reparations Commission, the African Union, National African American Reparations Commission and reparations commissions from various regions of the Global Black Diaspora.

He also said that Mottley will be presented the IBW Legacy Award at the Global Women’s Leadership Summit at the conference for her “historic role as the first woman Prime Minister of Barbados.

Rojas said Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell will make a statement during the Opening Session of the Pan African Institute and will deliver a tribute to Bishop at the National/International Town Hall Meeting on “Building the Global Reparations Movement”.

Mitchell will also participate in the Global Black Leaders Summit Breakfast, Rojas said.

“Under the leadership of Maurice Bishop, the Grenada Revolution was an inspiration to progressive Pan Africanists around the world,” Dr. Daniels said. “It is inspiring to know that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has called for a National Commemoration honoring the life and legacy of Maurice Bishop this fall.


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