Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Centre marks 203rd anniversary of Simon Bolivar's Jamaica Letter

Published:Sunday | September 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dr Wesley Hughes, chief executive officer of the Petro Caribe Development Fund.
Statue of Simon Bolivar at Heroes Circle in Kingston.

The PetroCaribe arrangement has resulted in the financing of projects worth US$5 billion over the past 13 years.

Chief executive officer of the PetroCaribe Development Fund Dr Wesley Hughes made the announcement while speaking at a ceremony held on September 6 at the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre, 10-12 North Parade, Kingston, for the 203rd anniversary of the Jamaica Letter written by Venezuela's Liberator, Simon Bolivar, in 1815.

The event was organised by the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre in collaboration with the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Dr Hughes said the contribution of the fund to Jamaica has been "meaningful and significant".

He said the PetroCaribe Development Fund, which has a mandate to strengthen national capacity in the areas of human capital, culture, infrastructure and the environment, had established the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre as an important vehicle in strengthening the friendship between Jamaica and Venezuela.


Long-lasting impact


Reflecting on the Jamaica Letter, he said it has had a "long-lasting impact on Venezuela and on all of Latin America, and, I dare say, the Caribbean".

He said the Letter demonstrated that Simon Bolivar understood that social and political organisations had to be based on national foundations and must be inclusive of all classes of people who lived in those societies.

"Today, 203 years later, we stand here, a few metres from where Simon grappled with the ideas of nationhood, independence and national identity, and how leaders should relate to their citizens," he added.

In her remarks, under-secretary, bilateral, regional and hemispheric affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Alison Stone-Roofe, said the Letter came at a critical juncture in the liberation struggles of Latin America.

She said it outlined the successes of the region in the struggle for freedom, presented justifications for independence, and stressed the need for regional integration.

"It is, therefore, quite fitting for us today, on this anniversary of the Jamaica Letter, to highlight those principles which Bolivar so fervently embodied and exemplified throughout his lifetime," she said.

Other speakers at the event were Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Jamaica Luisa Gutierrez; executive director of the Institute of Jamaica Vivian Crawford; and centre manager, Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre, Nadine Boothe-Gooden.