The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has sought to provide some clarity on why Jamaica has not yet signed an agreement to receive increased aid under the Korean Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The clarification comes amid reports from a local media house quoting an official from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) who said that the agency is disappointed about Jamaica’s delay in signing the proposed agreement.
In a statement released today (June 5), the Ministry said that Jamaica and the Republic of Korea have excellent relations, and they are surprised and concerned about the recent reports. The Ministry noted that portfolio minister Kamina Johnson Smith and Foreign Minister of Korea Park Jin met three weeks ago for a bilateral meeting, and the issue was not raised.
The Ministry states that draft agreements such as the one in question are never signed immediately as they undergo review, not only by the relevant departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, including its Legal Department but also by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, the Planning Institute of Jamaica and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as necessary.
The Ministry shared that the draft for the agreement was received on March 29 and sent for review on March 30 and March 31. The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service also recommended that additional Ministries provide feedback, and the Ministry said it is currently awaiting responses from the ministries.
“In fact, in this instance, to ensure ongoing attention to the matter, the Ministry took the unusual step of communicating its internal legal feedback, as well as that of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and the Planning Institute of Jamaica, to the Korean Foreign Ministry, even though other comments were still pending,” they wrote.
The Minister further noted that the process is not unusual for any country, regardless of the significance of the cooperation offered. They added that the Ministry is always available for engagement on matters of this nature.
Meanwhile, the Ministry said it will continue to follow up with the remaining Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) which had promised responses for this week. Additionally, it will continue to advance work with Jamaica’s Korean partners.