JIS News

United States Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, has pledged to work closely with the Embassy of Jamaica in engaging the USA’s support of Jamaica’s inner-city Transformation Plan, which seeks to dismantle criminal gangs while securing the country’s prosperity.
The pledge came during a Courtesy Call paid on her by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Ambassador Audrey Marks, at her Capitol Hill office.
Congresswoman Clarke, who is the Democrat representing New York’s 11th Congressional District, is the daughter of Jamaican-born New York Councilwoman, Una Clarke, and considers Jamaica her second home. She sits on the Congressional Committees of Homeland Security, Small Business and Education and Labour, and also chairs the Homeland Security Sub-Committee on Emerging Threats, Cyber-security, Science and Technology, as well as being the Whip for the Congressional Black Caucus.
Ambassador Marks briefed Congresswoman Clarke on the transformation agenda being pursued by the Government of Jamaica in the areas of security, justice, education and the macroeconomic framework.
She noted that the Government and people of Jamaica have coalesced around a “Plan Jamaica”, starting with the redevelopment of the inner city in downtown Kingston which, if successful, could become a model for the region.
This model, she said, involved economic revitalisation as well as for fighting the scourge of narco-trafficking by dismantling criminal gangs, while securing the country’s security and prosperity. This process she pointed out could be accelerated by an enhanced positive visible partnership with Jamaica’s largest trading partner, the USA.
Congresswoman Clarke responded that a secure Jamaica benefits not only the citizens of that country, but also those of the United States and the hemisphere, given the strong influence Jamaica has on the region.
She endorsed the renewed security thrust of the Government of Jamaica, seeing this action “as a launching pad for a security partnership between the United States and Jamaica”, a partnership which entails advocating key security issues”.
She confirmed that the Department of State had assured her that it “intends to partner with Jamaica and that there are no residual strain”, which could affect the relationship between the two countries.
Congresswoman Clarke informed of the work of the Homeland Security’s Sub-Committee on Cyber-security and expressed the view that this is a viable area of growth for Jamaica, utilizing the technical colleges for training the “next wave” of cyber security specialists.
She advised that in the US political system, Congress, the legislative arm of government and the Executive branch worked hand in glove, therefore effective lobbying on the Hill would serve to bolster, not only the relationship between the countries, but strengthen the level of support for development assistance.
She offered to assist in whatever way possible the work of the Ambassador, including arranging a scheduled visit with the Congressional Black Caucus and other Congressional Representatives who can influence the level of assistance given to Jamaica.
She also stressed the importance of engaging the Diaspora and friends of Jamaica in the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, as “there are very wealthy individuals, who are willing to invest in Jamaica, who believe in the idea of a prosperous Jamaica, but need to be assured of the stability of the country, and need to see a clear development plan.”
Ambassador Marks welcomed her generosity, expressed pleasure at her commitment to the region, particularly Jamaica, and assured her of Jamaica’s commitment to continue building a strong and effective partnership with the United States.

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