The Norman Manley International Airport reverberated with the sound of Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) artillery Monday evening, as it pounded out a symbolic 21- Gun Salute to welcome Their Excellencies, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, and First Lady, Salma Kikwete.
The visitors were met at the steps of their aircraft by Ambassador-designate of the Republic Of Tanzania to Jamaica, Dr. Joram Mukama Biswaro, followed by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, and his wife, Lorna Golding; Their Excellencies, the Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen; and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh.
President Kikwete inspected a colourful Guard of Honour formed by the JDF, after taking the Royal Salute and before being introduced to members of the Jamaican Cabinet by Mr. Golding.
The highlight of President Kikwete’s visit will be an address to a joint sitting of the both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (November 25) at Gordon House, where he is expected to raise the possibilities of increased co-operation between the Caribbean and the African continent. The same night, he and his wife will be guests of the Governor-General and Lady Allen at a State dinner at King’s House, where he will be conferred with Jamaica’s third highest honour, the Order of Excellence, which is reserved for foreign Heads of State or Government.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, (left) and his wife, Lorna Golding, (second left), welcoming Their Excellencies, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (right) and First Lady, Salma Kikwete, on arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, on Monday (November 23) for a three-day State visit, November 23 to 26.
Other activities will include bilateral talks with the Prime Minister at Jamaica House, as well as courtesy calls on the Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and former Prime Minister, the Most Hon P.J Patterson. He will explore investment opportunities with Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, and unveil the newly installed statue of Olympian gold medallist, the Hon. Herb McKenley, at the National Stadium.
The Tanzanian President will also tour the Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine with Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, and some of the island’s top tourism attractions in St. Ann, as well visit Liberty Hall in Kingston, which honours the legacy of Jamaica’s first National Hero, Marcus Garvey.
Lady Salma Kikwete will be accompanied by Mrs. Golding on visits to the Hope Valley Experimental School, which caters to the educational development of both disabled and able-bodied children, as well as the National Gallery and the Bob Marley Museum, Kingston.
The visit by President Kikwete, who is en route to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference (CHGC) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, November 27 to 29, is pivotal as the Jamaican Government moves to establish closer links with key African states.
Prime Minister Golding will lead Jamaica’s delegation to the CHGC, which is convened biannually to review global, political and economic developments, and to conduct a strategic overview of the Commonwealth’s work in support of the interests of member countries.
The State visit is a follow-up to a trip earlier this year, by Tanzania’s Minister of Water and Irrigation, the Hon Mark J. Mwandosya, and will last until Thursday, November 26.
Jamaica and Tanzania established diplomatic ties in 1971, with both countries enjoying good relations since then. However, this has been largely limited to collaboration in their efforts to achieve common goals in international bodies such as the Commonwealth and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group.