It has been my great pleasure to welcome Secretary of State Tillerson to Jamaica and to host him and his delegation on this brief but historic Working Visit to Jamaica.
Secretary Tillerson and I have engaged in critical discussions on issues of mutual interest to Jamaica and the United States, as well as the region, with a focus on promoting a peaceful, prosperous, energy secure, and democratic hemisphere.
Among the specific matters discussed were strengthening security cooperation in order to more effectively combat transnational organised crime; boosting the U.S.-Jamaica economic partnership; exploring opportunities to broaden U.S.-CARICOM engagement; energy security, the economic vulnerability of Middle Income Countries, including climatic events; de-risking and correspondent banking issues; and the situation in Venezuela.
Our talks reflected Jamaica’s long and productive relationship with the United States and signaled the importance of the strong and vibrant partnership that exists between our two countries.
I highlighted the common values we share based on our geographic proximity, our strong historical and cultural ties, our robust trade, tourism and investment relations, our large Jamaican Diaspora in the USA and our strong record of people-to-people contacts at all levels.
I expressed gratitude, on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, for the high levels of support provided by the United States to Jamaica, over the years, especially in areas which have assisted in meeting our national development goals.
In particular, we have greatly valued your efforts to disrupt transnational crime, through continued support for our strategies to effectively patrol Jamaica’s maritime space.
We agreed to deepen our cooperation in this regard, acknowledging also that the sharing and exchange of intelligence is critical to the safety and security of our two countries and the wider region.
With respect to our economic partnership, Secretary Tillerson and I both agreed that the transformation of Jamaica’s energy sector is critical to the achievement of our development objectives, including resilience.
I expressed the hope that the US will continue to support our thrust towards energy independence in the region, including greater efficiency in energy use and greater incorporation of renewable energy sources.
I also expressed the hope that having passed the US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, the United States will strengthen its economic partnerships, interest and participation in the region, in the interests of our respective countries and peoples.
Additionally, we used the opportunity to discuss Diaspora matters and the invaluable contribution of Jamaicans resident in the United States, including those engaged in service sectors of critical importance to the United States economy.
Secretary Tillerson reiterated the concern of the US Government on the political and economic crisis in Venezuela and the impact on the most vulnerable.
At the conclusion of our meeting we agreed that the Government of Venezuela must act in the best interest of its people and that it should ensure that the presidential elections are free, fair and credible in the eyes of the Venezuelan people and the international community.
Secretary Tillerson, I thank you for visiting Jamaica today as we work towards a shared vision of a peaceful, prosperous, energy secure, and democratic hemisphere.
I thank you for the frank and candid dialogue and the spirit of cooperation which have made our talks constructive and fruitful. I look forward to continuing the vibrant partnership enjoyed between Jamaica and the United States of America in the years ahead.