Mexico — a friend in need is a friend indeedSunday, July 04, 2021
Many Jamaicans labour under the misconception that Jamaica's foreign policy should concentrate on big rich western countries and the People's Republic of China that can give financial aid to Jamaica.
Relations, such as those with developing countries, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the United Nations, are too often seen as an expensive indulgence when the money is needed to improve education and repair roads.
Notions of co-operation among developing countries, with the notable exception of Cuba, are just intellectual talk, they believe. They question the presence of an embassy in countries like Venezuela and South Africa.
This is a serious misapprehension and a short-sighted perspective.
With all the statements of good intentions to assist Jamaica to get supplies of vaccines from rich developed countries touted as our best allies, these promises have yet to materialise. On the contrary, it was developing countries like India and Mexico, that actually assisted Jamaica.
When the Government of Mexico, through its international co-operation agency Amexcid, donated 65,000 doses of the AstraZeneca brand vaccine to Jamaica last week, it was not the first time Mexico has come to our aid.
Recall that Mexico and Venezuela signed the critical San Jose Accord for oil supplies with Caribbean and Central American countries in 1980. The relationship with Mexico illustrates the value of long-term friendships.
Until 1655 when the British captured the island, Jamaica was governed from the Viceroyalty of New Spain based in Mexico City. Formal diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Mexico were established on March 18, 1966.
Since then, both countries have worked together both bilaterally, regionally, for example, in the Organization of American States (OAS) and multilaterally, like in the United Nations. The two countries have embassies in their capitals.
The Mexico-Jamaica relationship also disproves the assumption that Jamaica's best prospects of mobilising foreign direct investment (FDI) are in the rich developed countries, particularly America, Canada, Britain and the European Union.
There is Mexican FDI in the tourism industry, cement manufacturing and airport management totalling over US$1.5 billion, notably: the operation of our two major international airports under concession by the Mexican Pacific Airport Group (GAP); US$200-million investment in the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Resort by Palace Resorts; Dolphin Cove's merger with the Mexican company, Dolphin Discovery; Karisma Hotels and Resorts' operation of Azul Sensatori Hotel and Azul Beach in Negril, Westmoreland.
The Hilton Rose Hall, Jewel Paradise Cove and the Jewel Grande are owned by Mexican company Playa Hotels and Resorts, which also owns and manages the Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva resorts in Jamaica.
CEMEX, which has majority ownership in the cement company, also invested approximately US$1 million in a liquid limestone plant in Clarendon in 2013, bringing its total investment in Jamaica to US$32 million.
This is a demonstration that true friendship can take time to develop and can't be cultivated only in times of need. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the people and Government of Mexico.
A friend in need is a friend indeed, one of the oldest known phrases, is as relevant today as when it was first said by Quintus Ennius in the 3rd century BC.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login