First Meeting of Political Consultations between the Dominican Republic and Jamaica

The government of Jamaica is working to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations within the northern Caribbean, reports the Jamaica Observer. Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, who is the Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, made an official visit to the Dominican Republic last week.

As reported, she signed a framework agreement with her counterpart Foreign Relations Minister Roberto Alvarez to cement a partnership that promises cooperation across multiple sectors of mutual interest.

“The signing of this agreement marks a deliberate step toward fortifying and expanding cooperation across a spectrum of pivotal sectors – bolstering political collaboration; catalysing trade and investment; enriching educational and cultural interactions; sharing expertise and technology to boost agricultural production and food security; as well as safeguarding our shared environmental heritage through concerted efforts in biodiversity, water resource management and sustainable solid waste practices,” says Johnson Smith.

Among the critical matters also discussed between the foreign ministers during the two-day visit, was the need for peace and stability in the region, particularly in Haiti. Minister Johnson Smith further expressed Jamaica’s concern regarding the border dispute between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, given Jamaica’s and the region’s engagement on international efforts to facilitate Haiti’s return to stability.

Jamaica Observer reports that among the regional and multilateral issues discussed were climate change and sargassum management, COP28 and the Dominican Republic’s participation in regional integration processes.

Johnson delivered a Special Guest Lecture at the Dominican Republic’s Institute for Higher Education in Consular Training (INESDyC) last Thursday titled ‘61 Years Strong: A Foreign Policy of Principles, Pragmatism and Possibilities’.

“I was honoured and pleased to accept the invitation to assist both practitioners and students of diplomacy to have a deeper understanding of Jamaicans as Caribbean neighbours, and of how Jamaica exercises its foreign policy,” Johnson Smith said.

Her audience comprised teachers and students from the academy, members of the diplomatic and consular corps resident in the Dominican Republic, members of staff of the foreign ministry and other government ministries, as well as members of the Jamaican Diaspora.

At the end of the meeting, the foreign ministers signed the Framework Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the Dominican Republic, which will substantially expand cooperation between the two countries, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Jamaica and the Institute of Higher Education in Diplomatic and Consular Training (INESDYC) of the Dominican Republic, whose purpose is to promote collaboration between the respective diplomatic academies. The Memorandum of Understanding will foster collaboration between the Jamaican Foreign Ministry and the Institute to enhance diplomatic and consular training for foreign service officers.

Ahead of meeting with the Jamaican Diaspora in the Dominican Republic, Minister Johnson Smith also paid a visit to the Jamaica Primary School, where Vice-Ministers of Education Schecker and Cordero, who were both present welcomed a proposal for an adoption program to enhance teaching of English and knowledge of Jamaica among the student population.

Reporting on the meetings, the Ministry of Foreign Relations said both ministers exchanged perspectives on bilateral relations, evaluated the status of various agreements under negotiation, and expressed their willingness to take advantage of the full potential of diplomatic ties to deepen trade and investment relations.

On the multilateral front, Foreign Minister Alvarez thanked the Government of Jamaica for its support for the Dominican candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the period 2024-2026, for which our country was elected, as well as Jamaica’s support for the deployment of the multinational security support force in Haiti, authorized by Resolution No. 2699 of the UN Security Council on October 2 of this year.

In the area of cooperation, the ministers reaffirmed the commitment to expand the exchange of best practices, which have been a fundamental element in bilateral interaction in areas such as tourism, agriculture, connectivity, sports and culture.

Among the new priority areas of cooperation, they discussed the possibility of expanding alliances and exchanges between the customs and port agencies of both countries; the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments, air services, recognition and reciprocal facilitation of phytosanitary processes, among others.

The Jamaican delegation was composed of the Honorable Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; Franz Hall, Ambassador-designate of Jamaica to the Republic of Cuba, concurrent to the Dominican Republic; Angella Rose-Howell, Director of the Americas and Caribbean Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; and T. Allan Marley, Chargé d’Affaires and Consul General of Jamaica in the Dominican Republic.

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Ministry of Foreign Relations
Jamaica Observer

14 November 2023