By Alecia Smith
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Prime Minister Andrew Holness, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to a unified Caribbean Community (CARICOM) said: “Jamaica does not want to see and does not engage in any policy that would divide CARICOM, which is an important fraternity of countries. We want to keep it that way. Jamaica’s interest is to unite the region for prosperity, freedom, and peace.”
The prime minister was responding to questions at a joint press conference held at the office of the prime minister on Wednesday, January 22, following bilateral discussions with US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, who is on a two-day working visit to the island.
Holness emphasised that the focus has to be that every member of CARICOM and every Jamaican ensure that there is engagement within the region.
“So, the conversation should be how do we get greater engagement, how are we talking more. My interest is to get Jamaica talking with everyone and to strengthen our relationship, particularly with our largest trading partner, particularly with our largest security partner, because we have over one million US visitors coming to our shores yearly. We have significant economic, social and cultural interests, so we should never seek to create an artificial divide,” the prime minister said.
Secretary Pompeo concurred that “there is no intent from the United States to divide CARICOM”, declaring. “We want all the countries of this region to prosper and be successful. We know that countries in this region will agree with the US on certain positions from time to time and disagree with us from time to time. That’s true for Jamaica, as well as true for many of the folks that I’ll visit [with] this afternoon. We want to invite them all to be part of the economic prosperity security zone that is this region, and we welcome the leadership that Jamaica has demonstrated in the CARICOM region,” he said.
Secretary Pompeo said the US welcomes dialogue with every country in the region, noting that “we’d want to meet with them all, we’d welcome them all to participate in all of the conversations that we are having about important issues”.
“Things that matter to the United States of America, we think, matter to each and every country in CARICOM and we want to work with them closely to develop a security prosperity dialogue with them, so that we can all be successful, not divided, but together,” he added.
US Secretary of State engaged in round-table discussions with Caribbean officials at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, and deliver a policy speech on the Caribbean’s critical importance to the US, and the country’s renewed commitment to closer ties, based on shared values, interests and economic prosperity.