WASHINGTON, USA — The highly anticipated visit of President Barack Obama to Jamaica this week is creating marked interest among Jamaicans within the US Diaspora.
Obama will make a two-day official visit to Jamaica on April 8 and 9, while on his way to the Summit of the Americas in Panama. While in the country he will hold bi-lateral discussions on a range of issues of mutual interest. During the visit the US president will also meet with heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to discuss issues on the CARICOM-US agenda, which will also include energy, security and trade.
Former Jamaican ambassador to the United States and counselor for Jamaica at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Richard Bernal, in reacting to the president’s visit, said, “The visit of President Obama is a very positive development for Jamaica.”
The IDB executive pointed out that “the visit is a critically important opportunity to convey to the president and his foreign policy advisors, the issues of concern to Jamaica and to reiterate the government’s commitment to continue to implement a very challenging economic program.”
Bernal, Jamaica’s longest serving ambassador to Washington, explained that when a president visits a country or region, the engagement is preceded by an intense inter-agency process that focuses on every aspect of the relationship with the US. This augurs well for the president’s meeting with CARICOM leaders on economic, security and energy issues.
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