KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Government of Jamaica is working to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations within the northern Caribbean. This according to Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, who departed the island on Tuesday for an official visit to the Dominican Republic.
Alongside her counterpart, His Excellency Roberto Álvarez, Minister Johnson Smith signed a pivotal Framework Agreement, cementing a partnership with the Dominican Republic that promises cooperation across multiple sectors of mutual interest.
“The signing of this agreement marks a deliberate step toward fortifying and expanding cooperation across a spectrum of pivotal sectors - bolstering political collaboration; catalysing trade and investment; enriching educational and cultural interactions; sharing expertise and technology to boost agricultural production and food security; as well as safeguarding our shared environmental heritage through concerted efforts in biodiversity, water resource management and sustainable solid waste practices”, the minister explained.
Among the critical matters also discussed between the foreign ministers during the two-day visit, was the need for peace and stability in the region, particularly in Haiti. Minister Johnson Smith further expressed Jamaica’s concern regarding the border dispute between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, given Jamaica’s and the region’s engagement on international efforts to facilitate Haiti’s return to stability. Among the regional and multilateral issues discussed were climate change and sargassum management, COP28 and the Dominican Republic’s participation in regional integration processes.
The minister was also invited to deliver a Special Guest Lecture at the Dominican Republic’s Institute for Higher Education in Consular Training (INESDyC) last Thursday titled ‘61 Years Strong: A Foreign Policy of Principles, Pragmatism and Possibilities’.
“I was honoured and pleased to accept the invitation to assist both practitioners and students of diplomacy to have a deeper understanding of Jamaicans as Caribbean neighbours, and of how Jamaica exercises its foreign policy”, Johnson Smith said.
Her audience comprised teachers and students from the academy, members of the diplomatic and consular corps resident in the Dominican Republic, members of staff of the foreign ministry and other government ministries, as well as members of the Jamaican Diaspora.
Ministers Álvarez and Johnson Smith have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Jamaica’s foreign ministry and the Dominican Republic’s Institute for Higher Education in Consular Training (INESDyC). The Memorandum of Understanding will foster collaboration between the Jamaican Foreign Ministry and the Institute to enhance diplomatic and consular training for foreign service officers.
Ahead of meeting with the Jamaican Diaspora in the Dominican Republic, Minister Johnson Smith also paid a visit to the Jamaica Primary School, where Vice-Ministers of Education Schecker and Cordero, who were both present, welcomed a proposal for an adoption programme to enhance teaching of English and knowledge of Jamaica among the student population.
“My visit to the Jamaica School was a delightful experience. The children gave brilliant and enthusiastic displays of knowledge about Jamaica. They spoke with such admiration about various aspects of Jamaican life, including our rich culture, vibrant people, and the symbolism behind the colours of the Jamaican flag. I was impressed by their understanding and expressed my appreciation to the teachers for their commendable work”, shared Johnson Smith.