KINGSTON — Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, Christopher Zacca says the United States government has sent a clear signal that it views Jamaica as a very valuable and highly respected partner in the Western Hemisphere.
In an interview with JIS News, yesterday, Mr. Zacca said Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s visit to the United States last week, where he held high level talks with key stakeholders in the US administration, multilateral agencies and the Diaspora, has strengthened the island’s ties with the North American country.
“I think the visit will only lead to greater interactions between the US and Jamaica, and more bilateral discussions and assistance from the US in helping Jamaica to solve its particular problems, both economically and other areas, such as security,” he said.
The Prime Minister, who was in Washington, D.C. on a five-day official visit, beginning on Sunday, June 5, returned to the island on Friday, June 10.
While there, he held bilateral talks with US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and was hosted by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he met with Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid.
Mr. Golding also held high level meetings with the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Nayuki Shinohara; President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, and the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick.
The Prime Minister also delivered a lecture at the prestigious Brookings Institute and presented the keynote address at the IDB’s International Forum on Caribbean Investment and Development (IFCID).
Mr. Zacca noted that the Prime Minister’s visit has contributed tremendously to the deepening of relations between Jamaica and the various multilateral financial institutions, as well as the Diaspora in Washington, D.C.
“The meetings with the multilateral agencies will also serve to strengthen and deepen Jamaica’s partnership with the institutions and I think they have paved the way for further financial assistance and guidance from the multilaterals,” he argued.
Mr. Zacca said the meetings also served to put Jamaica’s positions, in terms of the country’s needs and requirements, squarely on the table. “And, I think that our profile, even though it was high before, is even higher now with those institutions. I also think the re-affirming by the Prime Minister of our commitment to the economic programme, has further deepened the ties,” he noted.
He pointed out that the Prime Minister interacted with a number of key interests of the Diaspora in Washington D.C., which has served to create an even stronger connection between the Diaspora in Washington and the Jamaican government.
“I think we now have a very high level of appreciation (among the Diaspora) of the quality of the Prime Minister and his government and the various policies and programmes that he is leading,” Mr. Zacca remarked.
Mr. Golding was accompanied by the Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes; Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson; President of JAMPRO, Sancia Templer; Mr. Zacca and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter