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British Foreign Minister Praises Jamaica House

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The British Foreign Minister with responsibility for the Caribbean, Henry Billingham, has praised Jamaica House at the O2 in London, arguing that it presents a unique opportunity for Jamaica to forge stronger trade and investment links with the United Kingdom (UK).

“Major British companies operate successfully in Jamaica, while a number of Jamaican companies are big investors in the UK. I want these Olympics to be a unique opportunity to sell brand Jamaica to the world and I am delighted that Jamaica House will be doing just that and forge even stronger trade and investment links between Jamaica  and the UK and the rest of the world,” Mr. Billingham said.

Speaking at the official opening of Jamaica House on July 3, Mr. Billingham congratulated the initiative, noting that Jamaica is the only country from among the 200 participating in the London Olympics, to have a House in the heart   of the games. The O2 is also the venue for the Gymnastic, Trampoline and Basketball competitions.

The British Minister expressed delight that Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence will be celebrated during the current Olympics, and spoke of the strong bonds between the two countries “Our relationship is modern and forward looking.  It’s focused on the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.  In these challenging times the private sector must be the engine of growth for both our economies. We want our bilateral trade between the UK and Jamaica to   double over the next four years, thus creating wealth in both our countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon.  Anthony Hylton, said one of the aims of Jamaica House is to demonstrate that Jamaica is open for business.

“Jamaica is known for many many things and  in the next few days our athleticism will be on show, our tourist product will be on display, but less visible is the tremendous business that we can do in Jamaica and the tremendous investment opportunities that Jamaica represents,”  Mr. Hylton said.

He pointed out that over the course of Jamaica House,  meetings with individuals and companies will be held to, “talk business, investment and commerce.”

“We believe that on this occasion of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary, in this place, London,   at this time, that it is only fitting that we demonstrate Jamaica in all of its aspects and say to the world that Jamaica is not a one dimensional country; that Jamaica is indeed open for business,” the Minister added.

Jamaica Hose will run until August 12 and will showcase all things Jamaican. It is the centre-piece of celebrations in the UK of the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence.  The House will also be a major venue for supporters of the Jamaican athletes during the Olympics.

The Jamaica House venture is spearheaded by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Jamaica 50 Secretariat, in partnership with JAMPRO, the Government’s trade and investment promotions agency.

It will showcase the best of Jamaican heritage, food and culture and also be a venue for a series of seminars, meetings and discussions, aimed at increasing trade and investment opportunities as well as tourist arrivals to the island.


By Vivienne Siva (LONDON)

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