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Trinidad invites Jamaica’s PM for official visit

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has accepted an invitation from the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Patrick Manning, for her to pay an official visit to that country at her earliest convenience.

Mrs. Simpson Miller made the announcement on Wednesday, April 19 during a meeting with CARICOM Secretary General the Hon. Edwin Carrington, at Jamaica House.

Mrs. Simpson Miller has also accepted a proposal by the CARICOM Secretary General for a regional public education program on the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) to be launched in Jamaica. In agreeing to the launch of the campaign in Jamaica, she said the Social Development Commission would have to be brought on board to assist with the implementation of the program, given the commission’s involvement at the local level in some 780 communities identified islandwide.

Among other things, the Single Market provides for the free movement of goods and services between member States. In addition, some categories of workers including entertainers, media workers, university graduates and skilled workers, may seek employment in any member country of the CSM. The CSM was inaugurated in late January at a ceremony held at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said there was a lot that the region had to accomplish and she restated her commitment to work with colleague Heads of Government to strengthen the integration movement. She highlighted the challenges caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the consequences for human security and development of the region, as an area of concern to her.

She said that crime and violence was another major issue facing the region and that the government would seek to address the problem through community development and empowerment with education as the main vehicle.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller said Jamaica had provided the region with good leadership and pledged that she would continue in the tradition set by those who had served before her.

In congratulating Mrs. Simpson Miller on her appointment as the first woman Prime Minister of Jamaica, Secretary General Carrington said the CARICOM Secretariat stood ready to work with her and provide whatever support may be required. He updated the Prime Minister on key activities taking place within the Community including preparations for the next round of trade negotiations with the European Union and the 2007 Cricket World Cup to be held in the region. Mr. Carrington was accompanied at the meeting by Miss Jean Kennedy, Executive Management Officer at the CARICOM Secretariat.

Government officials present at the meeting were Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Anthony Hylton, Mrs. Patricia Sinclair McCalla, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Ambassador Douglas Saunders, Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

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