- Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has extended gratitude to Jamaica’s overseas partners, who continue to assist the country in various areas.
- She said that bilateral cooperation remains a key tool in the execution of the country’s foreign policy that promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
- “We thank all partner countries, many of whom have had long-standing cooperation arrangements in place with us and continue to provide well-needed resources and practical support as well as those with whom we have more recently begun to strengthen cooperation.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has extended gratitude to Jamaica’s overseas partners, who continue to assist the country in various areas.
She said that bilateral cooperation remains a key tool in the execution of the country’s foreign policy that promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
“We thank all partner countries, many of whom have had long-standing cooperation arrangements in place with us and continue to provide well-needed resources and practical support as well as those with whom we have more recently begun to strengthen cooperation.
“Jamaica relies on working with you, our trusted bilateral partners, in a wide range of areas to get the job done. Over the course of the year, we have continued to pursue a robust strategy of engagement and have expanded our outreach to more countries,” she said.
Senator Johnson Smith was addressing members of the diplomatic corps on Tuesday (March 3) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
She said that the Ministry had secured significant support for Jamaica through technical and economic cooperation programmes that were agreed on or implemented during the past year.
The Minister cited assistance from Canada in airlifting 150 Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) service men and women to The Bahamas to offer support in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. She noted that the country has also provided mobile legal-aid clinics to increase access to justice for the most vulnerable, and grant aid to community-based programmes directly geared at empowering young people.
Mrs. Johnson Smith informed that Jamaica and China have agreed on the Implementation Plan for the Belt and Road Initiative that will provide funding and technical assistance for priority large-scale projects.
“We have finalised with the European Union a programme valued at €20 million to support community development in the most violence-prone areas identified across Jamaica based on empirical data,” she added.
Additionally, she noted that Korea is providing support for Jamaica’s land management capabilities through grant of equipment for a cadastral mapping project while Japan will be boosting Jamaica’s maritime security through the provision of four maritime patrol vessels that will also assist in disaster response.
“A suite of 14 projects were agreed for cooperation between Jamaican and Mexican institutions that will build capacity in critical areas such as water management, maritime security, agriculture and food technology, as well as marine archaeology and language training,” the Minister said further.
Other programmes include a Road Map for Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco for the period 2019-2021 to support activities in agriculture, health, tourism and education; the United States (US)-Caribbean Resilience Partnership to address risk reduction, disaster response and building resilient communities; and engagement of the US in the preparation of Plan Secure Jamaica, a holistic arrangement of bilateral support for security, investment and renewable energy.
“Training and capacity development has also been a priority, with hundreds of opportunities provided by partners such as Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore and the USA,” the Minister noted further.
She said that the Ministry has also concluded numerous agreements and memoranda of understanding with bilateral partners in a range of fields over the past year.
These include economic cooperation, cultural cooperation, visa waivers, security cooperation, cooperation in sports as well as arrangements for high-level political engagements and consultations.
“We value the strategic relationship building that is underscored by these agreements, which open avenues for the Government to pursue greater collaboration and also provide opportunities for individuals and businesses to benefit,” Senator Johnson Smith said.
Meanwhile, she said that the Ministry’s focus this year will include joint commission meetings with Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria and Botswana; consultations with Canada, South Africa and Namibia; undertaking high-level visits to Kenya and India as well as receiving high-level visits to be announced.
She told members of the diplomatic corps that the Government remains committed to working with them and their respective private sectors to find ways of building on the hard work and the legacy of past years.
“I remain fully confident that together we can deliver real, positive outcomes and sound results through our partnerships,” she said.