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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives today

Published:Wednesday | February 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

United States (US) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to arrive today for a working three-hour visit, where he is expected to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Andrew Holness on important matters, including national security.

He is likely to engage Holness in dialogue to promote a safe, prosperous, energy-secure and democratic hemisphere. His visit comes on the back end of a whistle-stop tour that saw him travelling to four Central and South American countries - Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia.

The matter of crime, climate change, border security and trade arrangements could also figure high on the agenda, said a Gleaner source.

A joint press conference with Holness and Tillerson is set to follow bilateral talks at the Office of the Prime Minister at 1:45 p.m., after which Tillerson will head to the US Embassy at Old Hope Road, Kingston. He then departs at 3 p.m. for Washington.

 

Budgetary support

 

Jamaican immigration consultant and North East US Diaspora Advisory Board member Akelia Lawrence-Maitland told The Gleaner last week that Holness should press Tillerson on matters surrounding the slashing of budgetary support for the assistance programme, USAID (United States Agency for International Development), to beneficiary countries.

She said any move to cut the USAID budget will have severe consequences for several programmes that have been underpinned by the agency's support.

"I am hoping that Mr Holness will be decisive in presenting Jamaica's position on important matters such as Venezuela, Caribbean security, immigration reform in the US and the likely impact it will have on developing countries," Lawrence-Maitland had said.

In the meantime, professor of political science at Monroe College in New York, Basil Wilson, said that the focus must be on pressing the US for more support in fighting crime.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com

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