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Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Anthony Hylton, has said that the opening of the United States (US) Embassy’s new Liguanea location was indicative of the fruitful relation between the US and Jamaica, and served as a “launching pad towards a new era in the consolidation of longstanding relations.”
Minister Hylton, who was speaking at the dedication ceremony held today (Dec. 15) at the Embassy’s 142 Old Hope Road location, noted that, “this significant occasion provides the opportunity to celebrate Jamaica’s long and strong relationship with the United States, which has been anchored by our strong commitments to democracy, the rule of law and free enterprise”.
The US he said, was Jamaica’s major trading partner accounting for approximately 50 per cent of the country’s merchandise trade. In addition, more than 70 per cent of Jamaica’s tourists came from the US and a significant portion of Jamaica-bound remittances originated in the US mainland.
United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Brenda LaGrange Johnson, for her part, noted that the construction of the embassy “reaffirms the United States’ commitment to our relationship with Jamaica. We will continue working together to promote prosperity, regional security and mutual understanding. We will continue to develop, with Jamaica, a strong partnership as we face the evolving challenges of this new Century”.
She further lauded the government for its “steadfast support” on the project, noting that, “without your help, this project would not have been realized and we are grateful for your cooperation.”
The project, which was undertaken at a cost of US$72 million, involved the construction of a state-of-the-art, 107 square foot-facility, to house the US consular services in Jamaica. Included is a chancery with art work valued at US$192,000.
Some 850 Jamaicans were employed during the three-year construction phase.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall and Mrs. Rheima Hall, as well as Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other diplomats, attended today’s function.
The Embassy, formerly located on Oxford Road, employs more than 200 Jamaicans. It will be open for business on Monday, December 18.