President Barak Obama Praises Jamaica

Frontline News reports that in his welcoming speech for the Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, President Barak Obama lauded Jamaica recently for its continued leadership in the Caribbean, and for its commitment to democracy, prosperity, and security. He also voiced his approval of Jamaica’s role as a partner in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

The President made his comments at a brief ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House on July 30, where he received the credentials of Ambassador to the United States, Professor Stephen Vasciannie. “Over the years, we have come to know Jamaica as a leader in the Caribbean. As one of the largest countries in the Caribbean community, Jamaica is an indispensable partner in programmes such as the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) and is a leading political voice in the region,” the President said.

“We are nearing the beginning of the third year of the CBSI, with its strong focus on a collaborative approach to ensuring citizen safety. I am pleased that our Caribbean neighbours have worked closely with us to make it a reality. Jamaica’s contribution to our CBSI discussions have greatly strengthened the counter narcotics and counter terrorism components,” he added. Mr. Obama said one hallmark of the close collaboration is the joint efforts “we have undertaken to counter the growing threat posed by narcotics and weapons trafficking to the security of our citizens and our economies.” He noted that this year marks a special time in the history of the United States and Jamaica’s diplomatic relations.

“On August 6, Jamaica will celebrate 50 years of independence, and shortly thereafter, the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the United States. For the past 50 years, Jamaica and the United States have shared a long history of friendship, based on a mutual commitment to democracy, prosperity, and security in the Caribbean region. Our countries have enjoyed a fruitful and co-operative relationship across a broad range of issues, including trade, investment, citizen security, and energy security,” the President said.

“Beyond the common interest of our governments, our people share an unbreakable bond and close family ties. Jamaica’s dynamic culture has deeply enriched the fabric of American society. An estimated 1.5 million Americans of Jamaican descent live in the United States and are integral parts of our country’s history and tradition, and many are among our distinguished leaders across numerous disciplines. Over 10,000 American citizens, many born on the island and dual nationals, live in Jamaica today. Visitors from the United States account for 64 percent of Jamaica’s tourism market,” he added.

The President pointed out that the US and and Jamaica continue to co-operate on many shared priorities in the areas of rule of law, anti-corruption, counternarcotics, law enforcement, and promoting economic growth. “Last March, with the Government of Jamaica’s concurrence, the United States sent delegates from our State, Justice, and Treasury departments, and USAID, to meet with top Jamaican government officials to explore ways to intensify our co-operation in education and poverty elimination,” he noted. Welcoming the new Ambassador, Mr. Obama said he looked forward to working with Professor Vasciannie to advance their common agenda and deepen the strong and abiding friendship of both countries.

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