Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Montego Bay businessman Kishin Samtani has been named honorary consul to the Republic of South Korea.
Samtani, one of the operators of Tropicana Jewellers, will represent the world's eighth-largest trading nation, in Montego Bay, St James, and the western region.
He was officially appointed during a reception attended by three government ministers and a host of dignitaries at the Seawind Beach Club in Montego Bay last Friday night.
In response to the new post, Samtani, who has served as a director of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and who heads the Indian Benevolent Society, said he expected cooperation with the world power he now represents and Jamaica's tourism industry.
"Korea is a world leader in science and technology. It has a population of 50 million people and a significant number of individuals in the diaspora, with two million residing in the United States alone. I am confident that a significant percentage of these individuals will have an interest in Jamaica's tourism product," he stated.
Lauding the new honorary consul, Jamaica's Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill said Samtani brought a wealth of experience to the post, and will no doubt be pivotal in seeking opportunities for cooperation with the two countries.
"In addition, Mr Samtani is active in several business, civic and professional organisations and, as such, will be an excellent liaison agent for the government of South Korea with local businesses and organisations."
The minister's comments were bolstered by South Korea's Charge d'Affaires Kimo Lim, who stated that he was looking forward to establishing sister-city relations between a town in the west with one in his country.
"Honorary consuls in many parts of the world have played important roles in establishing trade relations worldwide, through sister-city relations, Montego Bay has the opportunity of attracting more Koreans," said Lim.
Minister of Information Sandrea Falconer, who was also in attendance, said the time had come for the trade imbalance between Jamaica and South Korea to be corrected.
"It cannot be about coffee only," said Falconer, as she welcomed Samtani to the diplomatic corp.
Samtani, who moved to Jamaica from India in 1970, is also an active member of the Good Shepherd Foundation and the St James Police Civic Committee.