JAMAICA'S energy and financial sectors are two of the areas that are to be offered assistance by the United States Government in the immediate future, US Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater said Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer, Ambassador Bridgewater reflected on the close relationship between the two countries as the nation marks its 50th anniversary of Independence, and indicated that the partnership would continue to deepen.
She said that the development of renewable energy sources such as wind and sun could be an area in which the US would partner with Jamaica.
"We know there are problems with energy sources in Jamaica and the importance of trying to find new sources of energy to take advantage of the natural elements in Jamaica — the wind and the sun — and so [we are] looking to find way to capitalise on that," she added.
Ambassador Bridgewater said the US would also be looking at Jamaica's financial sector to see how some of its institutions could be improved.
"Those things will be revealed as they come on stream," she said.
The ambassador along with senior members of her embassy staff were present at the Freedom Festival at the Emancipation Park in Kingston Wednesday — Emancipation Day — to celebrate the occasion as well the relationship between Jamaica and the US over the last 50 years. The US was the first country to establish an embassy in Jamaica.
Embassy staff distributed materials about the work of the US in Jamaica, including 50 years of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Peace Corps in the island.
Ambassador Bridgewater also highlighted the importance of observing Emancipation Day for both Jamaicans and Americans.
"We share the fact that historically our countries are made up of people that have been emancipated from the shackles of slavery. So it's an opportunity for us to reflect on how far Jamaicans have come since the days of slavery and for us as citizens of the United States of America to reflect on those of African descent and what we have achieved," she said.
Scores of Jamaicans and visitors, many of them decked out in the national colours of black, green and gold, were treated to drum performances, dance, storytelling and poetry at the festival. There was also a mini-village with displays of art and craft, books, personal-care products, as well as food.
Emancipation Park is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.