Prime Minister Portia Simpson has committed Jamaica to deepening relations with Spain as part of expanded cooperation between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and that European nation. Noting that Spain has made significant contributions to Jamaica’s economy, especially through investments in tourism, she acknowledged the contribution made by the Spanish private sector to the growth of Jamaica’s economy.
Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking in Antigua and Barbuda on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 2 during an exchange between Heads of Government of CARICOM and the Prime Minister of Spain, His Excellency Mariano Rajoy Brey as part of the 35th Meeting of CARICOM Heads.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller also pointed to Spain’s significant support for Jamaica’s health sector, having contributed towards the refurbishment of the Spanish Town Hospital, the Queen Sofia Crisis Centre at that medical facility and the newly designed King of Spain wing at the hospital.
“I must also mention the investments in health tourism by Grupo Hospiten International, which operates the MoBay Hope Medical Centre – a state of the art medical facility offering care to our residents and visitors in western Jamaica,” Prime Minister Simpson Miller said.
She noted that the role of the Spanish in promoting health tourism in Jamaica was ongoing and that the Government of Jamaica is pleased to welcome a US$20 million investment in Montego Bay by the Hospiten Group to build a 16 room, 28 bed specialized hospital. The Jamaican Prime Minister pointed out that construction of the new medical facility is expected to be completed within one year.
This investment will create 300 jobs and Hospiten will also establish 11 nursing stations in hotels on Jamaica’s North Coast as well as clinics at the Falmouth and Ocho Rios Cruise piers.
“Spanish enterprise and ingenuity continues to break new ground in Jamaica’s tourism industry. You have been an excellent partner and we look forward to deepening our relationship even further,” Prime Minister Simpson Miller told her counterpart Prime Minister of Spain.
In addressing the issue of the strong relations between CARICOM and Spain, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted with satisfaction the conclusion of the recent CARICOM-Spain Joint Commission meeting in Georgetown, Guyana on May 19th to promote projects under the CARICOM-Spain Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement through the CARICOM-Spain Joint Commission.
By Huntley Medley