Lauding Jamaica as “a leader in the region”, influential United States Congressman Eliot L. Engel, has given his full support to the nation’s inner city revitalization thrust which includes the redevelopment of downtown Kingston.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, was given this assurance when she paid a courtesy call on the New York congressman, at his Rayburn House offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Thursday (July 29).
Representative Engel, who chairs the Western Hemisphere Affairs Sub-committee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, represents New York’s 17th District, which includes The Bronx, Rockland and Westchester counties, home to large Jamaican and Caribbean immigrant communities.
Congressman Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, welcomes Jamaica’s Ambassador, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, to his Capital Hill offices, on Thursday, July 29, when she paid a courtesy call.
Discussing a range of topics, Congressman Engel advised of his strong friendship and long time interest in Jamaica, as well as his respect for Jamaicans in the Bronx, whose work ethic he described as exemplary.
He also disclosed that he considers himself “at home” in Jamaica and he shares an excellent relationship with Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding.
Ambassador Marks, for her part, expressed appreciation for the Congressman’s positive portrayal of Jamaicans. She also thanked him for his longstanding support of Jamaica and the Caribbean region.
Congressman Engel responded that Jamaica was not just another country, but a leader in the region. He praised the Jamaican government’s focus on tackling organised crime and leaders of criminal organizations.
Ambassador Marks briefed him on her government’s thrust to help revitalize Kingston, through socio-economic intervention in blighted communities, among other initiatives. She also stressed the importance of US support for the project, and requested the Congressman’s backing for U.S. State Department’s Jamaica programmes which require congressional approval.
Congressman Engel committed to ongoing support, and advised the Ambassador that his “door is always open” to Jamaica. He underscored that the US had a geo-political obligation to assist when needed, and to look for opportunities to help neighbours in their quest to become stronger democracies.
He said that the Obama Administration recognised the Caribbean as a priority, however, that may not be felt currently, as the Administration is pre-occupied with the economy and health care, among other urgent domestic issues. He had no doubt, however , that in the years ahead the intention will be clearly seen, as Secretary Clinton engages the region in a full programme of activities, involving CARICOM leaders.