The United States government has welcomed the victory of Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Jamaica on Thursday saying that the two countries share a commitment to free and fair elections.
Holness led his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to a resounding 49-14 victory over the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP), whose leader Dr. Peter Phillips stepped down as party leader on Friday.
“The United States congratulates the Jamaican people for their dedication to democracy as demonstrated in the September 3rd general elections,” said US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, in a short State Department statement.
“The United States and Jamaica share a commitment to free and fair elections, regional security and broad-based economic prosperity, including expanded bilateral trade and investment ties,” he said, adding “Americans and Jamaicans share strong bonds of friendship and shared values”.
Pompeo said the Donald Trump administration “looks forward to continuing to work with Prime Minister Holness on bilateral, regional and global initiatives, as we deepen and strengthen this important relationship.”
In January, Pompeo created controversy when he met in Jamaica with a select group of Caribbean leaders.
Barbados Prime Minister and then chair of the 15-member regional integration grouping, CARICOM, expressed deep concern about Pompeo’s meeting.
“As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited,” said Mottley in addressing a ceremony in Bridgetown honouring late Barbados Prime Minister and regionalist, Errol Barrow.
Several Caribbean leaders also sided with Mottley, including the current CARICOM chairman, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who said while the US has a right to invite whoever it wishes for talks, he has “strong support” for Mottley.
“I think that’s the correct position because it would appear as though you are dividing CARICOM,” Gonsalves said at the time.
Pompeo, while in Jamaica, participated in a round table meeting with the foreign ministers of The Bahamas, Belize, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has also congratulated Holness on his victory saying “I wish you and the people of Jamaica another term of success and prosperity as you work to build back stronger”.