TRINIDAD and Tobago's high commissioner to Jamaica Deryck Murray says the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between both countries has created an avenue for further development in many areas of cooperation and collaboration.
Murray, a former cricketer who represented the West Indies between 1963 and 1980, was speaking at a reception at the High Commission in Kingston on September 28 in celebration of his country's 60th anniversary of Independence and 46th anniversary of the attainment of republic status.
Emphasising that the relationship between Kingston and Port of Spain is strong, Murray said, "It is incumbent on us to ensure that such a proud legacy is not taken for granted but remains a clarion call for future generations to aspire to emulate, even surpass."
The MOU was signed by Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Trinidad and Tobago's chief executive Keith Rowley on August 31, 2022 during the twin island republic's independence anniversary celebrations at which Holness and Jamaica's Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith were special guests.
Noting that cooperation between both states dates back to 1948 with the establishment of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Murray said he was looking forward to strengthening relations "as we face the challenges in the next 60 years".
He thanked the Jamaican Government, and in particular the Ministry of Health, the diplomatic community, staff, and colleagues for their tremendous contributions throughout the pandemic, and appealed to the Trinidad and Tobago Diaspora in Jamaica to engage with the high commission "to determine how we can utilise your experience and expertise to advance our nation's goals and objectives".
In her address, Senator Johnson Smith said that "Trinidad and Tobago has much to be proud of in its 60th year. There has been tremendous success in several key areas of nation-building, and the region has benefited from the vision and advocacy of their leaders."
She paid homage to Trinidad and Tobago political icon Dr Eric Williams, civil rights activist, and originator of the Black Power slogan Stokely Carmichael, as well as former Caricom Secretary General Sir Edwin Carrington, describing them as "a small sample of the personalities which have had a profound influence on the region".
Johnson Smith noted that significant strides made in the economic, social and cultural spheres have resulted in private sector companies establishing themselves in the respective countries and the development of strong trading linkages.
She pointed to "a rich history of people-to-people exchanges" between both states facilitated primarily through The UWI's Mona and St Augustine campuses "which have warmly embraced students from across the region".
Johnson Smith also noted that both nations have been placed on the global stage by their sports stars, such as Hasely Crawford, Ato Boldon, Brian Lara, brothers Dwayne and Darren Bravo, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Richard Thompson, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Merlene Ottey, Donald Quarrie, and Courtney Walsh.
"Having taken stock of our shared history and our inextricable bond, I am immensely proud of our legacy of collaboration and cooperation. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago continue to cooperate on a number of bilateral issues from trade to immigration, as both our governments strive to work together in the best interest of our countries and peoples," Johnson Smith said.
"As we pursue sustainable growth and development for our people, we hope that there will be special emphasis on collaboration on energy security, including the development of local renewable sources of energy, and trade and investment. We also hope to see collaboration on crime-fighting and security, health and sports, tourism, culture, education, and, of course, tackling climate change," she said.
"As we approach the 60th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, Jamaica remains steadfast in its commitment to our partnership. Like the Double Chaconia, the National Flower of Trinidad and Tobago, we are anticipating that our bilateral relationship will continue to blossom and spring forth fresh opportunities for closer collaboration," Johnson Smith said.