VIDEO: Whatever I have to do for Jamaica I will — PM
PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller says whatever she has to do for Jamaica to progress, she will do it, as long as she is not breaking any laws.
Simpson Miller, who is wrapping up an official visit to Cuba this week, made the statement in response to criticisms about her many travels overseas.
"So when they criticise me about travel, I can't pay attention to some of that. If you are a government and if no head in the world invites you, you must be a prime minister that nobody at all cares about. And nobody cares about your country," she said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, the full report of which will be carried on February 5, 2014.
The prime minister also took a swipe at Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, saying it was not her fault that he was not invited overseas in the brief spell that he was head of government in 2011.
Recalling her visit to China in August last year, she said: "Since I came back from China a number of (Chinese) investors have come to Jamaica and met with ministers, and some ministers have been invited back to China, based on my visit to China, for discussions in other areas that we raised."
She said that she did not accept every invitation to go overseas, but there were certain ones that she would not turn down, for example, Brussels, the European capital.
"The EU is the largest contributor to development programmes globally. The amount of programmes that the EU funds in Jamaica. When you criticise that now, and the EU head hears that, what would he think? Sometimes we are destroying the very thing that we need.
"It is not my fault that the present leader of Opposition, when he was prime minister, was not invited. But he never stayed there long enough to be invited. But the fact is that you can't have bilaterals if you always stay home... if heads invite you and say 'my colleague I'm asking that you visit'. We are inviting some too. I invited South Africa to our Independence celebrations and Goodluck Johnathan (of Nigeria), as well as several other African leaders to come.
"Some of these that we feel we could develop areas of trade with, because their continent is very large. And a number of these countries are doing very well. I know, for example, that GraceKennedy is now in Ghana. We could be trading more with those countries.
"You can't stay home and get certain things done. So when (UN Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon invites me to the UN, for example, I'm not to go? When he appoints me to the various things that the UN invites me to, you say no?
"They can go on running up their mouths. Whatever I'm to do for Jamaica to progress I'm going to do it, as long as I'm not breaching any laws," Simpson Miller said.
See full report of Simpson Miller's interview with Jamaica Observer Executive Editor -- Special Assignment Desmond Allen on February 5, 2014.