1. At the invitation of the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency,Danilo Medina, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the MostHonourable Andrew Holness, paid an official visit from May 15 to 16, 2017. This is the first bilateral official visit of a Head of Government of Jamaica to the Dominican Republic in more than34 years, when then Prime Minister Edward Seaga visited in September 1983. It was also recallled that the first visit was in February 1963, by the National Hero and a driving force behind Jamaican independence, Sir Alexander Bustamante, who visited the country as Prime Minister, to attendthe presidential inauguration of Juan Bosch.
2. Prime Minister Holness, who assumed leadership of the Government of Jamaica after winning the February 2016 election, is accompanied by a delegation of the following members: Senator the HonourableKamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Honourable Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism; Senator Aubyn Hill, Special Ambassador for Investment; and Dr. Nigel Clarke, Ambassador for Economic Affairs, among others government officials.
3.Prime Minister Holness and his delegation held a working meeting with President Medina during which various issues were discussed on the bilateral agenda between the two countries, with a view to consolidating the relationship and seeking convergence in positions that address regional and international issues of mutual interest.
4. Both leaders emphasized that their countries share a track record of defending values and principles with respect to democracy, protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law. In this context, President Medina used the opportunity to present the efforts and achievements of the Dominican Government regarding the regularization of undocumented immigrants as well as the recognition of citizenship rights of people affected by ruling 168-13 of the Constitutional Court.
5. Both leaders highlighted that their two countries have traditionally enjoyed good relations, fostered by their close geographical proximity, people-to-people contacts and their joint membership of regional and hemispheric fora. At the same time, they expressed their strong commitment to strengthen these bilateral ties.
6. Both leaders stressed, in this connection, the importance of increasing levels of trade and bilateral investment in an equitable way as a means of exploiting the potential of both economies. In this regard, they discussed the investments of Jamaican firms in the Dominican financial sector, as well as Dominican investments in different economic sectors of Jamaica, such as: construction, agriculture and commerce.
7. Both leaders also underscored the opportunities for increased cooperation in tourism and expressed their interest in concluding a Memorandum of Understanding on Multi-Destination Tourism at the earliest opportunity. In this vein, they emphasized the importance of cooperation in the area of air transportation links. They discussed Jamaica’s plans to host of the UNWTO Conference on Sustainable Tourism which will be held in Montego from 27-29 November 2017 and highlighted the historical hosting of the Conference for the first time in Caribbean and wider Americas.
8. Prime Minister Holness expressed an interest in the social programs that the Dominican Government has been developing, especially with regard to affordable housing through public-private partnerships, such as the Juan Bosch City project, in order to examine the possibility of replicating similar initiatives in Jamaica.
9. Both leaders expressed their willingness to pursue exchanges and training programmes between teachers and students of the two countries, to promote mutual understanding and capacity building in Spanish and English language skills in their respective countries.
10. Both leaders emphasized the importance of coordination in the context of the regional programmes within the framework of the Forum of the Caribbean ACP Countries (CARIFORUM) and the importance of strengthening bilateral coordination to promote a regional agenda on issues such as Brexit, the future ACP and negotiations for a post-Cotonou agreement with the European Union.
11. Prime Minister Holness expressed his gratitude for the hospitality and welcome of the Dominican Government and People and extended an invitation to President Medina to visit Jamaica. For his part, President Medina wished him success in the exercise of his State duties.