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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, attended an official welcoming ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba.
  • The Prime Minister participated in the opening ceremony and special tour of the first phase of the newly constructed economic zone at the port of Mariel.
  • The Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) is funded in part by the Brazilian Government and is regarded as a mega project.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, attended an official welcoming ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba, on January 27, where she introduced members of her delegation to Cuban President, Raul Castro.

Mrs. Simpson Miller arrived in the Spanish-speaking country on January 26 for a four-day Official Visit. She is slated to participate in talks on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues with the Cuban leader.

She is accompanied on the trip by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson; Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Paul Robotham; Under Secretary, Bilateral and Regional Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Joy Wheeler; Director of Operations, Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (PMSU), Dr. Deborah Hickling; Executive Assistant, Liaison, Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association, Pamela Redwood; and members of her security detail.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister participated in the opening ceremony and special tour of the first phase of the newly constructed economic zone at the port of Mariel.

Other Heads of State and Government attending the ceremony included: President Castro; President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Most Excellent Dilma Rousseff; President of Veneuelza, Nicholas Maduro; President of Bolivia, Evo Morales; and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Ralph Gonsalves.

The Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) is funded in part by the Brazilian Government and is regarded as a mega project, geared at boosting capital inflows into the island.

The port is located 50 kilometres west of capital Havana and will serve as an attraction for foreign investments, and an experimentation field for modern technologies and managerial experiences.

While in the island, Mrs. Simpson Miller will also head Jamaica’s delegation to the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), being held at the PABExpo Hall in Havana from January 28 to 29.

It is being held under the theme: ‘The struggle against hunger, poverty and the inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean’. The forum is expected to adopt the Declaration of Havana.

The CELAC Summit is the largest political event to be hosted by Cuba in decades, attracting Heads of State and Foreign Ministers from all 33 member nations. The leaders will explore issues of intra-regional trade, sustainable development, science and technology, climate change, natural disasters, transportation, and social development, among other issues.

The Prime Minister will address the opening session of the forum, on January 28.