May 28, 2022

Holness exploring increased bilateral co-operation with C’bean neighbours

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Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 2.23.37 PMBY BALFORD HENRY From Jamaica Observer

PRIME Minister Andrew Holness says he expects a number of high-level visits to Jamaica and increased bilateral co-operation, emerging from discussions he started at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) summit in Havana, Cuba, on the weekend.

Holness, in a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said that among the invitees were Cuban President Raul Castro, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

He said that he was pleased to have discussions with Castro on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

“I was pleased to extend an invitation to the (Cuban) president to pay an official visit to Jamaica at a time to be determined through diplomatic channels. President Castro graciously accepted,” he stated.

“Prime Minister (Keith) Rowley has also agreed to pay an official visit to Jamaica in the near future, to continue discussions with me at the political level,” he added.

He said that, at the summit, he had reviewed Cuba-Jamaica relations at various levels, and pledged to identify ways to deepen the prospects for greater collaboration and exchanges in the areas of trade, tourism, climate change and disaster mitigation, culture and education, in the short term.

“I reiterated Jamaica’s unwavering commitment for an end to the economic embargo against Cuba, and to ensure that this call is maintained until it is lifted and Cuba can operate without the strictures of the unilateral action taken by the United States,” Holness stated.

He said that, among the possible areas of co-operation identified with Castro, was culture, through their creative industries, including a commitment to explore initiatives for the provision of increased language training on both sides.

He said that issues such as climate change and sea-level rise in the region, and potential consequences for human life and economic development were also discussed with Castro.

He said that, following the signing of a multi-destination tourism memorandum of understanding (MOU) by Jamaica’s Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, and Cuba’s Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz on Saturday, the two countries committed to have their “respective competent ministries” define the appropriate mechanisms to implement the MOU in a manner that will bring tangible benefits to both.

Holness said that he expects improved relations will be facilitated with Costa Rica through the existing Caribbean Community-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement of 2004, and the Jamaica-Costa Rica General Agreement on Economic, Technical and Commercial Cooperation signed in 1992.

“Within this context, the president of Costa Rica has encouraged Jamaica to participate in a trade exhibition to be held there in September, to identify possible increases in trade in goods and a variety of manufactured products in order to address Jamaica’s negative trade balance with Costa Rica,” he said.

He said that, in terms of the discussions with Trinidad and Tobago, he is expecting an early completion of the designated area at the Piarco Airport in Port-of-Spain to accommodate Jamaicans detained by immigration.

“Any administrative delays in the processing for return of Jamaican nationals in detention to allow them to be speedily reunited with their families is of immediate concern to my administration,” the Prime Minister said.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Andrew Holness giving details on the Association of Caribbean States Summit held in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. (Photo: JIS)

For more on this story go to: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Holness-exploring-increased-bilateral-co-operation-with-C-bean-neighbours_63342

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