JIS News

Spain’s King Juan Carlos I has assured Jamaica that Spanish investments are here to stay.
“You can rely on Spain’s friendly support in the ambitious projects you’ve set in motion. Our businesses have come to Jamaica to stay,” King Carlos said in a historic speech to a Joint Meeting of the Jamaican Senate and House of Representatives, at Gordon House, Kingston, today (Feb. 17).
The King also revealed that Prime Minister Bruce Golding, will visit Spain in 2010, for the Sixth Latin American and Caribbean/European Union Summit.
Prime Minister Golding, who also addressed the meeting, revealed that in recognition of the close collaboration between Jamaica and Spain, the Cabinet has approved the establishment of a Jamaican Embassy in Spain, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, is making necessary arrangements for this to be completed soon.
King Juan Carlos I welcomed the Cabinet’s decision, and described it as a reflection of the “importance and depth” of the relationship between the two countries.
The Spanish King started his speech praising Jamaican heroes of the struggle against slavery. He described the Jamaican Parliament as “exemplary”, with a “constant record of stability and respect for the rule of democracy.”
He said that he had wanted to visit Jamaica for a long time, and that the country’s name generated much “admiration and affection” in Spain.
“In recent times we have been building, on this common basis, a space of co-operation to foster mutual prosperity founded on friendship, economic growth and greater understanding,” he said.
Both he and Prime Minister Golding recalled the establishment of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Spain in 1966.
King Juan Carlos I said that the framework of agreements between both countries will be enhanced during his two-day stay in Jamaica, as he will be signing agreements important to bilateral arrangements and local investments.
He said he fully supported the Government’s decision to promote the teaching of Spanish in schools which, he suggested, was key to being competitive in the regional tourism market.
He also reiterated Spain’s commitment to Jamaica’s sustainable development and tourism, and assured that Spanish companies here would display a generous policy of corporate social responsibility.
The King also praised the regional political unit, CARICOM, as “one of the most ambitious and advanced processes for regional convergence, anywhere in the world, and a source of inspiration to other fora.”
In his address, Mr. Golding noted that, although Jamaica was Spanish ruled for 160 years, it was the first ever visit by the Crown of Spain.
Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller, recalled her visit to Spain in 2006, and the “graciousness” shown to her by the King and his people.
“I was most impressed by His Majesty’s intimate knowledge of the level of Spanish investments in Jamaica, and his personal support for the investors,” she said.
King Carlos was accompanied by Queen Sofia and Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva.