As Jamaica celebrated its 60th anniversary of Independence on August 6, diplomatic relations will continue to evolve and expand to help the nation achieve economic independence.
That’s the word from Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, who told the Jamaica Information Service that “formal diplomatic relations is one of the elements of sovereignty.
“So, this ministry and our continued work is actually a fundamental pillar of Jamaica’s Independence project,” Johnson Smith said.
“We not only have to ground ourselves in political independence but we need to soar towards economic independence [and] economic partnerships to change systems which are set against us, [and] that is the work of this ministry.”
She also highlighted that the country’s Diamond Jubilee is an “important benchmark” for reflection on what Jamaica has achieved.
“[We should] consider ourselves [to be] at a point of springboarding into a more prosperous, peaceful, and stable future,” she said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade was one of the earliest established government ministries. It was known as the Ministry of External Affairs in 1962 and is mandated to strengthen the links between Jamaica and the rest of the world.
It is against this backdrop, that China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Chen Daojiang, and other members of the Diplomatic Corps expressed best wishes for the nation as it approached its Diamond Jubilee.
“[This] Diamond Jubilee of Independence provides a great opportunity for Jamaica to gather national strength and plan for future development. I sincerely wish that Jamaica would achieve the goal of reigniting a nation for greatness and become the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” Chen said.
He highlighted that, while the Chinese community joins in the Independence celebrations, the international community should also “strengthen solidarity and cooperation,” while facing global challenges.
Along the same line, Sanjay Nanwani, director of the Industry Division in the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore, said: “We [the Singapore delegation] wish you a very happy 60th Independence Day and many more years of continued progress, peace, security and prosperity.”
In the meantime, Sergey Petrovich, ambassador of the Russian Federation, also congratulated the nation.
“Jamaica has achieved very impressive achievements in all works of life, in socio-economic development [and] in other fields like education, culture, sports and many others,” he emphasised.
Since 1962, the ministry has evolved with the inclusion of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the Caribbean, North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Diplomatic relations have been established with countries such as the Republic of Namibia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belgium, India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Austria, Italy and Suriname among many others.