Petty politicking in Obama visit
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Apparently, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is coming under some criticism for appearing to politicise President Barack Obama's visit after hastily announcing it in Jamaica's Parliament on Tuesday, March 17, as a "state" visit. Her announcement came prior to Opposition Finance Spokesperson Audley Shaw's Budget Debate presentation, maybe aimed at watering down its impact.
A state visit is a formal visit by a head of state to a foreign country, at the invitation of that country's head of state, with the latter also acting as the official host for the duration of the state visit.
However, in this regard, it was President Obama who initiated the visit. Since that announcement by the prime minister, US officials argue that the visit is a 'working' visit, primarily with CARICOM leaders, and that the meeting will be chaired by both President Obama and Perry Christie, the prime minister of The Bahamas, who also chairs CARICOM.
Less-formal visits than a state visit to another country with a lesser focus on ceremonial events, by either a head of state or a head of government, can be classified (in reducing order of magnitude) as either an official visit, a working visit', or a private visit.
pathetic and immature
Some supporters, including prominent leaders of the governing People's National Party, have gone on an intense social media campaign following the PM's announcement in Parliament, ridiculing Opposition Leader Andrew Holness' non-invitation to the quick meetings.
It really is pathetic and terribly immature that some find politics in absolutely everything. It's also unfortunate that the governing party missed out on a grand opportunity to show unity and common purpose in these challenging times. Thankfully, US presidents tend to be cautious about state and official visits that may be politicised, especially in the context of an upcoming national election.