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Jamaica increasing its engagement with bilateral partners, says Johnson Smith

Thursday, March 14, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has continued to pursue a robust strategy of increasing the scope of engagement with Jamaica's bilateral partners in support of the Government's strategic focus on providing citizen security, growing the economy, creating jobs, and advancing the overall development objectives.

Portfolio Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith said the much advancement in Jamaica's domestic goals have been achieved through bridges built with partner countries.

“Many of those bilateral engagements have also been pursued within the multilateral framework, as we recognise that common values and goals play a major role in shaping bilateral, regional and international decision-making, which in turn impacts the lives of people across the world,” she stated.

Johnson Smith was addressing heads of diplomatic missions at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

The address was part of Diplomatic Week activities being observed from March 12 to 15 under the theme 'Building Partnerships for Sustainable Development'. The week brings together 60 heads of mission, including 35 non-resident heads.

She informed that Jamaica has received project proposals in the areas of tourism, civil aviation, education and sports, among others, following the first Joint Commission with Panama in June last year.

“We are already building on these outcomes,” Johnson Smith said.

Johnson Smith noted that Jamaica's health and education sectors have also benefited from numerous contributions of equipment and services from the Government of Japan, including grants for school buses and mobility equipment for children with special needs.

In addition, she said that Jamaica has pursued and benefited from cooperation with several development partners such as India, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia, as well as the European Union, in the areas of education, agriculture, science and technology, culture and energy.

Meanwhile, Johnson Smith said the Government has concluded two visa, waiver agreements and 12 air services agreements were signed or initialled to facilitate increased movement of people between countries for the purposes of business and pleasure.

“In this regard, we look forward to partnering with Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Namibia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), among others, to bring tangible outcomes from these Agreements,” she said.

The senator also mentioned plans for the construction of a children's hospital in Western Jamaica, which she said was made possible with a multimillion-dollar grant from the Government of China.

She also thanked the Chinese Government for its contribution towards the construction of the ministry's new building in downtown Kingston.

“I want to use the opportunity to thank the Government of China for the major contribution that it has made to this project, which will ensure that the ministry is able to deliver on its mandate more effectively and comfortably,” she added.


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