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During the 2013/14 fiscal year, the Government will continue to cement its relations with international partners, as it seeks to improve foreign policy and investment prospects.

Delivering the Throne Speech at Gordon House, on Thursday, April 4, the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said the government will continue to strengthen the country’s cherished relations with traditional partners, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Japan; and also with countries, such as the Gulf States and Russia, “particularly from the perspective of sources of investment, tourists and markets for some of our products.”

“The place that Jamaica occupies in the global economic space obliges us to pursue several directions in regard to our Foreign Policy,” he added.

The Governor-General noted that the Government’s strategic directions will also include: advancing Jamaica’s trade and investment interests at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels; and the promotion of technical, educational and economic co-operation with developing countries in Africa and Asia.

He said the Government will be seeking to enhance the framework for free movement of Jamaican nationals within the Caribbean Community; to give effect to the decisions of Heads of Government; and concluding discussions on contingent rights to ensure the portability of social benefits across borders.

The Governor-General pointed out that within the Latin American and the Caribbean region, the Government will continue to focus on the country’s relations within the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and to further strengthen ties with Venezuela and co-operation with Brazil.

He said the Government will give steadfast attention to the pursuit of a range of other seminal goals, which include: the completion of negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty; the review of the Millennium Development Goals, post 2015; and the 3rd United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Samoa towards the end of this calendar year, in preparation for which Jamaica will host a regional meeting in July 2013.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will complete the Diaspora Policy to be presented at the Diaspora Conference, scheduled to be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from June 16-19, 2013,” he added.

In the meantime, he is encouraging Jamaicans to remain committed and not be daunted by the tasks before us.

“These are indeed challenging times, not only for us as Jamaicans, but also for nations across the globe. Much larger countries with more resources are facing similar challenges. We all accept that the difficulties that our people face are real, but we resolve to re-double our efforts to meet their aspirations for a better today and a brighter tomorrow,” he said.

He noted that Jamaicans are strong, creative and innovative.

“We must apply our creative genius in our families, in our businesses and at our places of employment; and we must do so with honesty and integrity. In difficult times, we must work harder and we must work diligently,” he emphasized.

The Governor-General’s speech was delivered under the theme: ‘Jamaica: Going for Growth and Development’.

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter