Wed | Oct 17, 2018

No Jamaica-US rift, says Johnson Smith

Published:Tuesday | September 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Kamina Johnson Smith

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has confirmed that the governments of Jamaica and the United States (US) are in talks over a new information-sharing agreement, but has denied that there is a rift between the two countries.

Responding to an article published in The Gleaner yesterday, portfolio minister Kamina Johnson Smith said, "We are currently in consultation with the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, the three principal partners with which we collaborate on regional security matters, to address legal issues raised in relation to certain information-sharing agreement.

"The length of the consultations is a function of the importance of the discussions and the desire of all parties to conclude on satisfactory grounds," said Johnson Smith.

She pointed out that the negot-iations are being led by her ministry and not the Office of the Prime Minister, as reported by The Gleaner, and argued that it would have been able to provide an update had it been contacted.

"The media must be cognisant of the sensitive nature of foreign affairs and be aware that erroneous and incendiary statements do not further the interest of Jamaica," said Johnson Smith, as she argued that the foreign affairs ministry would have been able to clarify that the status of the consultation can no way be described as a rift.

Gleaner sources had claimed that Jamaica and the US were at odds over a new information-sharing memorandum of understanding, as the Americans were demanding an agreement that had constitutional implications.

According to the sources, the parties have been at loggerheads for more than 12 months, as Jamaican legal experts have warned the Government against going ahead with the agreement as proposed by the Americans.

[See full statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at www.jamaica-gleaner.com]