Trinidad and Tobago PM pledges to address challenges with Jamaica
KINGSTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley concluded a visit to Jamaica on Thursday, pledging to address the challenges between the two Caribbean nations.
During his five-day official visit, Rowley and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness had "frank and open" discussions on improved economic partnerships and stronger cooperation, according to the official Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
The two leaders addressed critical issues pertaining to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), an economic integration initiative of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and shared perspectives about its implementation, the JIS said.
Approximately 320 Jamaicans were denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago last year, a figure Jamaica said is of significant concern.
The issue has been a long-standing one between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
"We spoke about the responsibility of member states to guarantee the agreed measures for hassle-free travel, the application of the ten agreed categories of skilled labor, as with even acceptance of CSME Skills certificates throughout the region," said Holness.
"I am therefore encouraged by the fact that the facility at the Piarco airport (in Trinidad and Tobago's capital city Port of Spain) for accommodation of persons who have been refused entry, is expected to be completed by the end of this month," he added.
"Prime Minister Rowley and I acknowledged the need for improvements in our trade relations, including the removal of impediments to the free movement of goods and services between both countries," Holness said.
"As leaders, we agreed to work towards a better and more stable environment for businesses to thrive, to increase investment flows between our countries and to develop mechanisms to facilitate closer trade cooperation and the resolution of trade issues," he added.
Rowley said his visit to Jamaica has been successful in rekindling the good relations between the countries.
While challenges exist, the oil-rich Caribbean nation's prime minister said: "they are not difficult to solve and all that is needed is a coming together and finding of ways to deal with them."
Rowley also pointed out the need for the region to increase the focus on security "given what is happening in the international environment."