Former Jamaican Prime Minister Hails Kofi Annan as “a Visionary”

Kofi Annan

Says the Caribbean Will Remember him for his “Constant Attention”

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, P. J. Patterson has hailed the late former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan Kofi Annan, as a visionary who conceived the Millennium Development Goals as the engine for moving forward the international society in its entirety.

Patterson, in tribute to Annan who died last month, said he was a man of “unique and yet many distinctions”.

“He was the first and to date the only person who passed through the labyrinth of the United Nations and its many agencies to ascend to the post of Secretary General by virtue of his brilliance at every working stage; and the first son of subSaharan Africa to become chief of that global institution.”

PJ Patterson (Stabroek News photo)

In a statment on Friday, Patterson noted that Kofi Annan perceived the U.N. as a catalyst for change and an instrument for human progress.

“His style was one of quiet but resolute diplomacy which would forestall conflict whenever possible and be ready to respond promptly and effectively whenever tension could not be defused or conflict averted.”

Patterson said the Caribbean will remember Annan for the “constant attention he paid to our severe resource constraints and vulnerability to a spate of natural disasters.”

“His passionate advocacy was highlighted in the Barbados Programme of Action that the UN Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States adopted at the start of his incumbency.

“For this urbane and astute Secretary General, the concept of retirement meant primarily a transfer of his focus and attention from his New York Headquarters to roam the continent of his descent and broken agreements which would foster harmony and economic growth. As Chairman of the Group of Elders, he sought to rid Africa of the dogmas of the past in order to embrace pragmatic progress in working democracies under the rule of law.”

The former Prime Minister said the rich legacy of the late former UN Secretary general must inspire “a new generation of men and women to carry on the relentless struggle into a new era when the hopes and aspirations of their martyrs and heroes will be realized once and for all.”

“Mine was the privilege of having known Kofi throughout the years and the honour of a productive working relationship which grew into a close brotherhood.Kofi Anan has now joined our noble ancestors and entered that realm of eternal rest and enjoy perpeptual peace at last.”

Kofi Annan, the first black African to serve as Secretary General of the UN was originally from Ghana.

He died in hospital in Switzerland following a brief illness. – CMC