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JIS News

As Ambassador Anthony Johnson prepares to take up his post as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) later this month, he has indicated that he will be seeking to strengthen relations with the Jamaican Diaspora there and deepen co-operation between Kingston and London in the area of national security.
In an interview with JIS News, Ambassador Johnson noted that more than one million Jamaican nationals live in England and that the link with this group must be strengthened. He disclosed that he was aiming to sensitise business people in the UK about the many investment opportunities in Jamaica.
“Our exports are at a very low ebb, you know we lost over half of the bauxite/alumina industry..So, we have to ensure that we look for new areas and pick them up, and where better to do it that than with people, who understand us and where we have a large Jamaican community, to purchase our stuff and to assist in perhaps financing efforts to continue to [produce],” he stated.
He also said it was important to ensure that the Jamaican community remains committed to the island and that if they want to return home they can do so comfortably.
Ambassador Johnson said it was also important that Jamaica and England continue to cooperate in areas of mutual assistance as well as discover other areas in which ties can be deepened.
Given Jamaica’s challenges in crime fighting, the diplomat is also keen to pursue further co-operation on national security. “It is important that we maintain the flow of assistance, particularly with personnel coming out here and .our people going over and using the technology that they develop from time to time,” he said.
Ambassador Johnson, who takes up duties in London on May 20, served as ambassador to United States (US) and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States for 26 months until his departure from Washington on May 3.
Reflecting on his more than two years in Washington, the Ambassador said he was happy to have served during the time when the US elected its first black president and to witness the strides President Obama has made in trying to turn the US economy around.
He noted that during his tenure, he was able to make some important links with several organisations, which are extending help to Jamaica in the area of health care. He said that while not many American companies were investing abroad because of the recession, his office made several links, which should bear fruit in the future.
He also noted that his office contributed to the increase in tourist arrivals from the US to Jamaica last year.
Mr. Johnson will be succeeded in Washington by businesswoman, Audrey Marks.