United States Congresswoman Yvette Clarke has pledged to work closely with the Embassy of Jamaica in engaging the United States to support Jamaica's inner-city Transformation Plan which seeks to dismantle criminal gangs, while securing the country's security and prosperity.
The pledge came recently during a courtesy call paid on her by Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks at her Capitol Hill office.
Congresswoman Clarke, who is the Democratic Representative for New York's 11th Congressional District, considers Jamaica her second home, and sits on the Congressional Committees of Homeland Security, Small Business and Education, and Labour.
She chairs the Homeland Security Sub-Committee on Emerging Threats, Cyber-security, Science and Technology, and is the whip for the Congressional Black Caucus.
Marks briefed Clarke on the transformative agenda being pursued by the Government of Jamaica in the areas of security, justice and education as well as the macroeconomic framework.
She noted that the government and people of Jamaica have coalesced around a 'Plan Jamaica', starting with the redevelopment of the inner city in downtown Kingston and which, if successful, could become a model for the region.
This model she said, was both of economic revitalization as well as for fighting the scourge of narco-traficking by dismantling criminal gangs, while securing the country's security and prosperity.
This process, she pointed out, could be accelerated by an enhanced positive visible partnership with Jamaica's largest trading partner, the US.
Congresswoman Clarke responded that a secure Jamaica benefits not only the citizens of that country, but also those of the US and the hemisphere, given the strong influence Jamaica has on the region.
Security thrust endorsed
She endorsed the renewed security thrust of the Jamaican Government and said she saw this action "as a launching pad for a security partnership between the United States and Jamaica".
She offered to assist in whatever way possible, the work of the Ambassador, including arranging a scheduled visit with the Congressional Black Caucus and other Congressional Representatives who can influence the level of assistance given to Jamaica in its efforts to become a stable democratic neighbour.
She also said her office can assist Jamaicans with emergency visa issues such as appeals and other special cases.