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Rowley arrives in Jamaica


Rowley arrives in Jamaica

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KINGSTON – Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport on Sunday to start a four-day official visit that will include talks with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other key officials.

Rowley’s visit comes amid claims by local and business leaders that existing arrangements within the regional body – the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are not being adhered to particularly in the areas of trade and immigration.

Holness extended the invitation to Prime Minister Rowley during their bilateral discussions, held in the margins of the Seventh Summit of Heads of States and Government of States, Countries and Territories of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), in Cuba last month.

During the visit, the leaders will hold talks towards the resolution of long standing bilateral and regional issues, including the Implementation of the CARICOM Single Market Economy (CSME), and the related Free Movement of Community Nationals and Immigration matters, Trade and Energy Cooperation and Air Transportation.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister here indicated that Holness and Rowley will discuss the signing of a Framework Agreement and the establishment of a Joint Commission, which is currently under negotiation, to provide a structured medium for bilateral discussions and cooperation in areas of mutual interest. The prime ministers are also expected to engage on the CARICOM integration process.

The Trinidad and Tobago prime minister is expected to meet with the Chairman of the CARICOM/ CARIFORUM Review Commission, former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, pay a Courtesy Call on the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen and meet with the Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller.

Rowley is also scheduled to engage with heads of private sector bodies and entities on trade and business development.

The Trinidadian Prime Minister will also address the 22nd Session of the General Assembly of the International Seabed Authority, which is underway at the Jamaica Conference Centre. Trinidad and Tobago played an instrumental role in the development of the Law of the Sea.

Rowley will also meet with the Vice Chancellor and senior executives of the University of the West Indies (UWI), members of the Diaspora, as well as students from Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, he will have a scheduled event with Trinidadian entrepreneurs in Jamaica.

Prior to the visit, the president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), William Mahfood said it is hoped that longstanding issues between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago will be resolved when the leaders meet this week.

According to Mahfood, the importance of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to CARICOM demands that the issues be solved for the benefit of the entire regional body.

“I think Prime Minister Rowley, has indicated that he is a true regionalist and once he is made aware of areas where there are these anomalies, if he is serious about addressing them in the right and proper way then we can have a good outcome – as a region, we need to appreciate that we are stronger as a united force, than as individual countries divided.” (CMC)