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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is moving to establish closer relations with India, which is a growing economic and political power.
  • To that end, he has appointed Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Aubyn Hill, as special investment ambassador to India, with responsibility to facilitate economic, commercial and social ties with the country.
  • “The clear objective is to grow trade between our two countries and enhance our economic growth and job creation prospects,” Mr. Holness said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is moving to establish closer relations with India, which is a growing economic and political power.

To that end, he has appointed Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Aubyn Hill, as special investment ambassador to India, with responsibility to facilitate economic, commercial and social ties with the country.

“The clear objective is to grow trade between our two countries and enhance our economic growth and job creation prospects,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister was bringing remarks at the inaugural Mona Debates on Thursday, April 14, at the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Mona campus.

Mr. Holness said the move to deepen relations with India is significant, considering the Jamaican Government’s economic agenda and development imperatives.

He noted that Senator Hill is fully equipped to carry out the task, as he has a strong economic association with India, having lived and worked in the country, and travels there frequently.

The debate, hosted in collaboration the Indian High Commission, was in observation of the 125th birth anniversary of Indian Activist, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Dr. Ambedkar was an economist, politician and social reformer, who inspired the Dalit Budhist movement. He dedicated his life to fighting discrimination against the Dalits, formerly called Untouchables, who are persons at the bottom of India’s rigid social order known as the caste system.

Prime Minister Holness said the activist awakened the social conscience of modern India.

He noted that Dr. Ambedkar, who was born into the Untouchable caste, overcame poverty to secure academic degrees and rise to national and international scholarly heights.

He was appointed India’s first Law and Justice Minister and chaired the committee to draft the country’s first constitution.

“His ideas are significantly relevant for a vast majority of Jamaican people whose ancestors also experienced discrimination during slavery and much of the colonial period,” Mr. Holness said.

High Commissioner of India to Jamaica, His Excellency, Pretap Singh, expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister for his support of the anniversary celebrations.

The Debate moot was: ‘Marginalised Jamaicans have benefitted from Independence.”

In attendance were Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Ruel Reid and State Minister, Hon. Floyd Green; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith; Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr. Derrick McKoy; Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Evan Duggan; and President of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, Dr. Garnet Roper.