Kingston, Jamaica, January 31, 2018: The People’s National Party (PNP) says it welcomes the announcement of the impending visit by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Jamaica.
In a statement this afternoon, Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lisa Hanna, says Mr. Tillerson’s visit is timely and provides an important opportunity to strengthen diplomatic ties between Jamaica and the USA and to improve areas of cooperation with Jamaica and other countries in the Hemisphere.
The Opposition spokesman notes the important role that the United States’ plays in geopolitics, its impact on the global economy, the global supply chain, trade and investment and the increasingly important issue of World Peace. She says she also notes the potential impact of US Policy on social, political and economic outcomes in our region.
Consequently, Ms. Hanna says the Government of Jamaica must use the opportunity to extend Jamaica’s agenda beyond exclusive bilateral US-Jamaica affairs, to include Regional and Hemispheric issues; and to raise with Secretary Tillerson important areas of concern including proposed changes to US immigration laws which will have a major impact on the Jamaican Diaspora as well as other policies which impact o Jamaica and the region.
“Jamaica’s agenda for discussion should include but not be limited to immigration/deportation concerns, budget cuts in USAID Programmes in Jamaica and the region; and in particular the discontinuation of Programmes to build resilience to Climate Change given last year’s natural disaster events that affected the region” Ms. Hanna said.
Against the background of the recent US Travel Advisory, the upsurge of murders in Jamaica and the lethargic responses of the Holness Administration to the safety and security of Jamaicans citizens and visitors at risk, the Shadow Minister said the Prime Minister Holness must provide credible solutions and reassurances to Secretary Tillerson that security in Jamaica, remains an important priority of his Administration.
The Opposition raises several other issues of strategic concern to CARICOM that the Prime Minister must discuss, if he is to reassert Jamaica’s influence and leadership in CARICOM diplomacy. These issues include ending the Cuban embargo, the elimination of Temporary Protected Status of some sixty thousand Haitians, the troubling question of Venezuela and the enforcement of economic sanctions against Venezuela and finally, the implications for countries who continue to trade with that Latin American nation, which contributes to their energy security.
Ms. Hanna concluded that the friendly US/Jamaica Bilateral relationship remains of vital importance to Jamaica’s national development and has been strengthened over the years through increasing cooperation on trade, including the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), Investments and participation in Regional Security initiatives, Energy Security, Tourism, Maritime Border protection, Immigration and the interests of the Jamaican Diaspora.
She said the PNP warmly welcomes Secretary Tillerson and express the hope that deliberations will contribute to the strengthening of US/Jamaica ties and will be mutually beneficial to both nations.