Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has acknowledged the partnerships forged between Jamaica and various bilateral and multilateral institutions, which continue to redound to the country’s benefit.

Making her 2015/16 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on March 24, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that Jamaica’s strong international partnerships are facilitating trade, investments, and “people to people” exchanges.

“In 2014, we strengthened our cooperation with our partners in the United States of America (USA), Canada, and the United Kingdom (UK) in areas such as financial services, trade, investment, tourism, security, and human rights,” she said.

The Prime Minister, who spoke under the theme – ‘Moving Forward: Jobs, Growth, and Development’ – said Jamaica continues to be “appreciative” of the development assistance provided by European Union (EU) member states, individually and collectively, while pointing out that the country’s economic development “is also benefitting from the overseas investment thrust of, and grant funding from The People’s Republic of China.”

Additionally, she said Jamaica and Japan “renewed our mutual commitment to further cultural and economic cooperation” in 2014, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both countries.

Mrs. Simpson Miller also acknowledged the PetroCaribe Agreement which, she said, continues to “shine as a beacon of cooperation” between Venezuela and several countries, including Jamaica. She announced that the 10th Anniversary PetroCaribe Summit will be hosted in Montego Bay, in September.

“This special Summit will be convened against the backdrop of the 200th anniversary of the famous ‘Jamaica Letter’ written in Kingston by the Venezuelan Liberator, Simon Bolivar; the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Venezuela; and the opening of the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre in Kingston, later this year,” she informed.

The Prime Minister noted that the upcoming Summit of the Americas, slated for Panama City, Panama, in April, “will mark a defining moment with the historic participation of Cuba,” while reiterating that Jamaica will host US President, Barack Obama, on the eve of that conference.

Mrs. Simpson Miller also underscored the importance of Jamaica’s Diaspora relations in the country’s international focus.

In this regard, she reminded the House that the Sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference will be convened in Montego Bay from June 14 to 18, under the theme: ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity’.

“We remain faithful to our commitments for the economic advancement and social development of our people within the Caribbean Community, other Regional groupings, and to our obligations as a responsible member of the global community of nations. Jamaica will continue to actively participate in the deliberations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), leading to an agreement on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” she assured.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said in order to “advance our positions” on this agenda, “cooperation is critical” at the regional level, as Jamaica engages CARICOM partners, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

“Jamaica continues to nurture its relationships with its good neighbours and good friends. Our foreign relations and activities continue to be a strategic element of our growth and development agenda,” she added.