• Members of the Media,
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining us this afternoon,

I am delighted to welcome my brother and friend, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and his delegation on his historic State Visit to Jamaica.

The President and Mrs. Kenyatta are our Special Guests for the celebration of the 57th Anniversary of our Independence.  I am particularly pleased that both the President and his lovely wife have accepted my invitation to visit Jamaica during our national festivities.

We very much hope that they will enjoy the cultural displays – from our music, to our dance traditions and our food, as well as the warm hospitality for which Jamaicans are renowned. While the President will also experience a little bit of rural Jamaica, on his visit to the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon, we will have to defer our debate on best beaches – that is Montego Bay versus Mombassa.

Mr. President, your presence here today and your recent appointment of the very first Kenyan High Commissioner for Jamaica, reflect the growing relationship between Jamaica and Kenya. Indeed, this demonstrates to us your deep personal commitment to the Jamaica-Kenya partnership and to developing stronger ties with CARICOM as well.

Today, President Kenyatta and I have engaged in critical discussions on issues of mutual interest to Jamaica and Kenya. The robust dialogue we had builds on our fruitful exchanges last year, including at the G7 Summit in Canada and takes forward our strong desire to increase trade and investment ties and to expand economic and technical cooperation.

In so doing, we have agreed that we must now optimise the potential of our historical relations to yield concrete benefits in our cooperation efforts. Here, I emphasize that Jamaica – Kenya relations are deeply rooted in our historical connection with the African continent, which pre-dates the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1976.

It is well-documented that our first National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, had a significant influence on Jomo Kenyatta, the first Prime Minister of Kenya and later its first President. He is, of course, President Kenyatta’s late father. Jomo Kenyatta was an ardent advocate for Kenyan independence and was a student of Garvey’s teachings on unification and Pan-Africanism.  That experience contributed to his efforts to create and lead a unified Kenya after the country gained its independence; as well as his solidarity with other great African leaders pushing for Africa’s liberation, unity and development.

In that context, we also recall that the late Dudley Thompson, as a Jamaican lawyer and Pan-Africanist in East Africa, was resolute in his staunch defence of Jomo Kenyatta, when he was charged with treason by the British colonialist government of the day.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These longstanding fraternal connections between Jamaica and Kenya have undoubtedly helped to inspire and deepen the solidarity between our two countries today. As we move to capitalise on our historically positive relations, the President and I agreed that improving trade in goods

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