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Opposition Concerned Obama Won’t Meet With Them

Published:Saturday | April 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Edmund Bartlett, opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs and trade.

THE OPPOSITION Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has raised concerns that they will not be afforded the opportunity to have audience with United States President Barack Obama when he visits next week.

These concerns were expressed by Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Edmund Bartlett.

In an interview with The Gleaner, Bartlett said, "We have received absolutely no communication on the visit.

"Everybody feels so good about it on both sides given that we have a good relationship with the United States, so it would be a pity if it was being construed that one group of people in the governance of the land would not have access to the president," he said.

Political points

Bartlett also indicated that he is concerned that the visit would be used to score political points.

"We are within an election cycle and they are obviously ignoring the Opposition, which is a part of the governance of the land, then you obviously are positioning someone above the other. Already, we are being told that things are being made with the president's and the prime minister's pictures on them," he said.

He also pointed out that the lack of clarity surrounding the nature of the visit has contributed to doubts about whether or not President Obama would meet with members of the Opposition.

"This is why defining the nature of the visit is critical, because the Government can't wash their hands and say they have no role in the itinerary of the president," he said.

Bartlett argued that there were different protocols associated with different types of visit.

"We need clarity from the prime minister. She is the one who told us that the president is coming for a state visit ..." he insisted.