Secretary of State Tillerson and PM Holness hold “frank” talks

On Wednesday Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness reported holding “frank, candid dialogue” with visiting United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson as the two countries sought to deepen their trade and other relations.

Tillerson arrived in Kingston on Wednesday morning as part of his visit to Latin America and the Caribbean. Holness told a news conference that the deliberations were positive and covered several areas including trans-border crime, security and economic transformation.

“I expressed hope that the US would continue to support our thrust towards energy independence in the region including greater efficiency in energy use and greater incorporation of renewable energy sources.”

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Holness expresses gratitude to US

The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to Washington for its support to Jamaica over the years “especially in the areas which have assisted in meeting our national development goals. In particular we have greatly valued America’s efforts to disrupt transnational crime through continued support to effectively secure Jamaica’s maritime space.”

Holness added agreement had been reached on deepening that cooperation while acknowledging “the sharing and exchange of intelligence is critical to the safety and security of our two countries and the wider region.”

Holness said the meeting also explored avenues to broaden US-CARICOM engagement and the economic vulnerability of developing countries including climatic events as well as de-risking and corresponding banking issues.

Continued US support

Meanwhile, Tillerson told reporters Jamaica has made important progress in combatting the lottery scams and cooperating with US authorities in extraditing those engaged in the illegal activity.

“The US government will continue to support Jamaica’s security forces and criminal justice system,” adding “it is in both of our countries’ interest to work together….”

He said discussions with the Jamaican PM also examined “ways to promote increased energy dependence, not just for Jamaica, but throughout the Caribbean. We stand ready to assist with Jamaica and other partners in the Caribbean to explore and develop resources they have…”

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