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JIS News

The Jamaica Observer’s lead story today headlined “PM ‘slights’ EU President” is an inaccurate and incomplete account of the facts.
Contrary to the report, the Prime Minister did not ‘slight’ the European Commission President or, indeed, any other dignitary with whom she was scheduled to meet, nor is she or any member of her family facing any “health emergency”.
Due to matters requiring the attention of the Prime Minister, the decision was taken Monday afternoon to adjust the European leg of a scheduled overseas visit which also included a trip to Washington, D.C.
The Washington visit was facilitated because of the short time the Prime Minister would be away and the relatively short flying time during which she would be out of direct communication contact.
In Washington, the Prime Minister addressed the powerful Alcoa Women’s Network and senior executives of the company.
That visit also underscored the very important and longstanding relationship between Jamaica and Alcoa and the company’s pending expansion investments in the JAMALCO bauxite/alumina operations here in Jamaica.
From Washington, the Prime Minister was to travel to Europe for a number of engagements which included a meeting with the President of the European Commission; receipt of the prestigious Pio Manzu Gold Medal Award of the Presidency of the Republic of Italy in recognition of her steadfast commitment to promoting peace and social justice. The Prime Minister was also to have audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade was duly instructed to dispatch the necessary official correspondence advising of the unavoidable change in the Prime Minister’s travel plans. This was done, and not by email, as is suggested in the report, but through the normal diplomatic and official channels. The Prime Minister is fully aware of the importance of Jamaica’s relationship with the European Union and the Holy See and every effort will be made to have these visits rescheduled. At no time, was there any intention, real or imagined, to show disrespect to anyone.
In addition to the earlier official dispatch from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister has also personally extended sincere regrets to the European Commission President, the Pope, the Pio Manzu International Research Centre and the Government and people of Italy, for the inconvenience which the late change in her travel plans may have caused.