JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Many UK Jamaicans have been very successful in running businesses.
  • He is also keen on facilitating and creating “even more significant business links” through the Jamaican Diaspora in the UK.
  • Mr. Simmonds was addressing a media briefing at the British High Commission in Kingston on Wednesday, November 6.

British government minister, Hon. Mark Simmonds, says he is keen on facilitating increased business and trade links between Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK).

Mr. Simmonds, who has responsibility for the Caribbean, Africa, Overseas Territories, Climate Change, and International Energy, cited increased exports of Jamaican products to the UK, and “significant” British expertise and experience in developing renewable energy solutions, education, and financial services in the island, as areas of pursuit.

He was addressing a media briefing at the British High Commission in Kingston on Wednesday, November 6, following meetings with government officials.

“There needs to be specific sectoral focus and clearly there is already Jamaican expertise, in terms of exporting…to the United Kingdom. One of the things I was talking about…in one of my meetings, is whether there is greater opportunity for the export of coffee, in addition to the exports already taking,” Mr. Simmonds said.

He told journalists that he is also keen on facilitating and creating “even more significant business links” through the Jamaican Diaspora in the UK. He said that many UK Jamaicans have been very successful in running businesses, citing entrepreneur, Levi Roots, as an example.

Roots, born Keith Graham, migrated to the UK many years ago and established the ‘Reggae Reggae’ brand of sauces and condiments. He opened a store in Kingston earlier this week that will retail his products.

“That’s the sort of exemplar that I think we could use to facilitate and encourage Jamaicans to look at the United Kingdom, both as a potentially successful market to access, (and) also as a route into the bigger market of the European Union, which, of course, has 500 million potential consumers.” Mr. Simmonds stated.

Mr. Simmonds, who was visiting Jamaica for the first time, arrived in the island on Wednesday, following a two-day visit to the Cayman Islands on November 4 and 5.

He explained that his visit here is aimed at building on the “historic and very positive” relationship that Jamaica shares with the UK.

His engagements included meetings with several government ministers, as well as visits to the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre  and the Trench Town Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) in Trench Town, Kingston, which benefit from support through the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Mr. Simmonds is scheduled to depart the island for the UK on Thursday, November 7.