Projects stalled by COVID, but Mexican ambassador optimistic

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Projects stalled by COVID, but Mexican ambassador optimistic

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica Juan José González Mijares says that although a number of cooperation and investment programmes have been hamstrung by the novel coronavirus pandemic this year, the situation is gradually improving, giving hope for the execution of those initiatives.

Speaking at this week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange yesterday, Mijares also commended the Jamaican Government for its show of responsibility, during a period when other governments have fallen short.

“For many people it was a wasted year, for many others it has been an opportunity to look internally... it's been a process of learning for all of us. We have been working first to reinforce multilateralism... we are in the worst moment [in history], and Jamaica and Mexico are working together; we believe in international law, we believe in international legality. At the regional and multinational levels, we speak the same language... the pendulum is swinging back [and] not only because of the US elections,” he stated.

He noted that economic blocs such as the European Union (EU) have also shown effectiveness in sustaining programmes in the region, notwithstanding their own challenges.

“This experience has been important, it is important for us and especially for responsible countries, politicians, and diplomats to have dialogue and keep it going,” he said.

Ambassador Mijares stressed that his country will sustain bilateral arrangements with Jamaica, “because these investments are long-term; this is not something [where] you can close shop”.

He pointed to the governance structures which have underpinned the management of COVID-19 here, stating that the country's public health policy, in the face of the pandemic, has “important legitimacy”.

“I follow Jamaican policy and I recognise a responsible Government in a moment where other forms of government have collapsed. You have this parliamentary process and it has improved stability,” he said, noting that the island had successfully conducted a general election in September.

Among the slate of projects making up the strong technical cooperation programme between Mexico and Jamaica for 2020/21 are the development of a research-based nutraceutical industry, which is to be implemented by the University of Technology, Jamaica; the training of marine police; collaboration with the National Land Agency on geospatial data management and analysis, and training in nautical chart production processes; and a canine detection programme, to be run under the agriculture ministry.

Other projects which have been successfully concluded this year are a livestock practitioners' capacity-building initiative to mitigate the negative impact of climate change; the bioengineering of yams and other select Caribbean roots and tuber biomaterial for value chain expansion and pre-commercialisation analysis, carried out by The University of the West Indies; and the strengthening of on-farm water management capacity for climate resilience, production and productivity, a project conducted through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority.

The ambassador also noted collaboration with the education ministry on an academic exchange programme, which should have seen 12 teachers participating in a pilot this summer. He said focus is being given to teaching Spanish, working with teachers' colleges to enable practitioners to expand on teaching the language.


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