Discussions between Jamaica and T&T to strengthen bonds – PM Holness
Posted in: Regional News | 19 July 2016 | 2194
Bilateral discussions between Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago are expected to result in robust initiatives that will lead to increased co-operation, and the promotion of improved trade relations.
This is the sentiment expressed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who is hosting his Trinidadian counterpart, Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley, on an official four-day visit.
He noted that the interactions will also facilitate “the sharing of information, experience and best practices for capacity building in our institutions, to better create growth and prosperity in a stable and secure environment.”
Prime Minister Holness was speaking at the start of a bilateral meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday (July 18).
He pointed out that the meeting underscored his Administration’s commitment to pursue a proactive approach for stronger trade and economic relations in keeping with Jamaica’s growth agenda.
Prime Minister Holness noted that Dr. Rowley’s visit will enable both leaders “to sit as friends and partners to address some issues which may have placed wrinkles in our relationship.”
“Our meeting should lead to a clear way forward as we seek to build on the foundation of long-standing ties which have been shaped by our history, shared values, mutual respect and, importantly, our inter-connectedness,” he said.
Citing statistics which show that almost 13,000 Trinidad and Tobago nationals travelled to Jamaica in 2015 and over 15,000 Jamaicans visited the twin-island republic the same year, Mr. Holness noted that this is indicative of the long-standing bonds of friendship and co-operation between the nations.
“Notwithstanding the challenges, our people are moving between the islands, intermarrying, investing in and working for each other’s enterprises, studying, contributing, and being integral to the growth of their respective host countries, building regional societies for the greater good,” Mr. Holness said.
The Prime Minister said that both leaders must find ways to ensure that “this natural exchange and interconnectedness between our countries is hassle-free and facilitated by our respective regulatory bureaucracies.”
“In this regard, we are hoping to expand our trade relations to propel growth and development, given the mutual benefits to be derived. At the same time, we acknowledge that Jamaica also has a responsibility to address certain shortcomings including the need to find ways to bypass the hurdles to competitiveness and productivity while we engage on bilateral issues,” he said.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Rowley stressed his country’s commitment “to treating with the challenges, whatever they might be,” noting that as members of CARICOM, Jamaica and Trinidad are family. We are one people with a common purpose, common history and cultural norms that we would defend for ourselves and for each other.”
He noted that CARICOM is looking for an action plan to further the realisation of “the great potential that we have shared for so long,” and Jamaica and Trinidad, as major nations in the region, must demonstrate the unity and leadership needed to achieve the goals.
“When I leave Jamaica, I would be satisfied if one acceptance would be made…that whatever the challenge is, we are stronger together, we are stronger as one unit and that there is no challenge in this family that we cannot overcome (by working together),” he said.
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