FORMER US Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States stands ready to assist Jamaica with its economic problems, saying that the country is still of great importance in the region.
Powell, who led a high-level delegation appointed by US President Barack Obama to represent the US at Jamaica's celebration of its 50th anniversary of Independence, made the pledge to assist during a press briefing at the National Stadium on Monday.
Powell, who is of Jamaican parentage, said that he is confident that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller will address the economic problems facing the country which are similar to those of the US.
Meanwhile, Powell said that a number of Americans with Jamaican parentage, like himself, have never lost their commitment to Jamaica, and he used the opportunity to hail the the country’s athletes for their their great performance in the London Olympics.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, of the 11th Congressional District of New York, who was in attendance at the press conference, said it is was “an honour and privilege to be here on such an occasion”. She said she had often heard stories from her parents about the lowering of the Union Jack in 1962 and the raising of the Jamaican flag, signalling independence from British rule.