JIS News

Spain’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Jesus Silva, has said that the interdependence of countries has become so strong, that not even the most powerful countries can survive without the rest of the world.
“We have seen it in the global crisis – something that was caused and took place in other countries immediately started spreading around the world and created a global financial meltdown for all countries,” Mr. Silva stated.
He said that for small countries, like Jamaica, opportunities and the challenges are much easier to overcome, once they have a good international network.
“This is what Diplomatic Week helps to encourage,” Ambassador Silva told JIS News.
He described the Diplomatic Week initiative in Jamaica as “something quite unique”, noting that not many other countries have such an initiative and that some have tried to copy, but with less success.
“It is a very intelligent initiative in terms of marketing and selling your country. Countries these days in the global world are not much different from companies. Jamaica being a country with a fair number of diplomatic missions, it gives foreign ambassadors the opportunity, in a very concentrated space of time to get to meet the main players of the country, the main leading personalities in government, and private sector, and get deep insight of what is going on and a very good image and knowledge of the country,” he explained.
At the same time, on the Jamaican side, it is a very good opportunity to highlight the things that the country is interested to let other countries know, and to be better known in the wider international community, Mr. Silva stated.
“It’s a very cost-effective exercise, because in a very short period of time, the country gets exposure internationally and foreign countries get to know Jamaica,” he remarked.
Speaking to his own country’s relationship with Jamaica, Ambassador Silva says bilateral arrangements and relations between Jamaica and Spain have grown significantly, not only in quantity, but in quality.
He noted that, up to between five and 10 years ago, the relationship was relatively limited, but that now the Spanish private sector has taken a leading role in developing a strong Spanish presence in Jamaica, with their investments which have an enormous impact, particularly in terms of employment.
“This has also caused both governments to develop a very sophisticated network of political, legal relations, and cooperation relations. In the last years, we have certainly done a lot to improve that. We have had on the political level a very intense dialogue,” he noted, pointing to the dialogue between both Prime Ministers, and last year’s visit of the King and Queen of Spain.
Ambassador Silva highlighted the many agreements that have been signed between both countries for a number of sectors.
These include agreements having to do with double taxation, and the air traffic services agreement, and protection of investment agreements, among several others.
“We have also slowly increased our cooperation level in terms of technical assistance, in terms of projects that we are funding in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health. Certainly now it has become a very rich and sophisticated relationship,” he said.
Now in his fifth year in Jamaica, Ambassador Silva says this year, there will be more concretization of projects that have been in preparation during the last year. He said both countries are looking forward to, in terms of political relations, the EU Latin American Caribbean Summit of Heads and States and Government, which will be hosted in Spain.
“We are expecting a visit of the Prime Minister for this purpose and we hope also that it will give opportunities for contacts not only with government, but also with the private sector and civil society in general,” he said.
On the cooperation side, he said, the Spanish government will be seeking to continue projects across sectors, such assistance for the continued development of the Spanish Town Hospital; restoration works for Spanish Town Square; training of persons in the agricultural sector with the establishment of the Centre of Excellence; and collaboration for the tourism hospitality school in Montego Bay.
Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the week, which is in its 12th year, provides a framework for updating the diplomats on Government policies and programmes, as well as an opportunity for dialogue and feedback on areas of mutual interest. Some 23 overseas based diplomats are participating, along with 33 of their locally posted colleagues.