US VP hails PM Holness' strong leadership

Friday, August 23, 2019

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UNITED States Vice-president Mike Pence has lauded Prime Minister Andrew Holness for his strong leadership of Jamaica, and, by extension, the Caribbean region.

“I want to thank the prime minister of Jamaica for his strong leadership of his country and in the Caribbean community,” Pence said while addressing the swearing-in ceremony for the 17th US ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia, at the White House on Tuesday.

“I also want to thank Jamaica for its strong leadership at the Organization of American States (OAS), as both countries (USA, Jamaica) work towards advancing key priorities... [including] improving security, law and enforcement, public health and energy development,” he is quoted as saying in a release.

Pence underscored that the USA and Jamaica are natural partners. He noted that both countries share cultural and economic ties, as well as the core beliefs in free government and the rule of law.

The United States vice-president offered that, given the strong alliance, both nations will continue to work towards strengthening the bond.

According to the release from the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, DC, he referenced the appointment of the new ambassador as a demonstration of his country's commitment to building a safer and more prosperous western hemisphere.

In his remarks, Ambassador Tapia said he was honoured to serve as the 17th envoy to Jamaica and was committed to the task at hand.

“Jamaica's proximity to the United States, shared values, culture and language can facilitate increased engagement, investment, trade, and cooperation. Jamaica is a respected leader within the region, a strong partnership the United States deeply values,” the ambassador said.

He also noted that Jamaica is ripe for development of renewable energy sources like geothermal, solar and wind power, as well as liquefied natural gas.

The ambassador said, too, that while its country's economy continues to grow, high electricity rates reduce economic competitiveness and prevent Jamaica from investing in other areas such as education and business enterprises.

“I am committed to working with US businesses and within the US Government to build relationships with Jamaica in these areas,” he said.

Ambassador Tapia, a former Arizona entrepreneur, said he will encourage the prosperity of the Jamaican people across the island, and the economic success and political ties in the Caribbean region.

Ambassador Tapia will take up his new appointment in Jamaica at the end of this month.


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