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Letter of the Day | Jamaica and Italy: a relation on a firm bedrock of tradition

Published:Wednesday | April 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Itallian Ambassador to Jamaica


Jamaica is renowned worldwide for its natural beauty, its music and the warmth of its people. Each year, thousands of tourists, to include over 60,000 Italians, flock to this beautiful island, seeking calm and tranquillity feelings that are often lost in today's hectic world.

This is my second visit to Jamaica as the Italian Ambassador. As I marvel once again at the outstanding landscape of the island, I am also impressed by its rich and diverse cultural heritage and environment, also testified by the many students from different parts of the Caribbean at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, and by the performance of its economy that has grown steadily over the last seven quarters.

This economic reality has appealed to Italian investors in the hospitality sector and beyond. Through its subsidiary, J. Wray & Nephew, Campari one of the top players worldwide in the premium spirits industry is now one of the largest employers on the island. In 2016, Gruppo Campari's products in Jamaica alone represented 4.6 per cent of net consolidate sales (close to 1.8 billion euro around 250 billion Jamaica dollars) of the Group.

Specifically, rums represent two per cent of net consolidate sales and are distributed througout the globe. Each bottle tells a story of two countries, two companies and two peoples that have blended their century-old traditions, their know-how and their experiences together to succeed in today's highly competitive world. Every year Jamaican employees and managers are trained in Italy, and learn to understand our business

models and especially our way of life, which Campari's long history fully reflects. Conversely, Italians grow increasingly familiar with Jamaica, its people and traditions that J. Wray & Nephew so aptly embodies.

Together with the hundreds of well-integrated Italians living in Jamaica, these men and women are building the basis for an ever stronger relation between Kingston and Rome. They are truly our ambassadors, and each day contribute to enhancing our cultural, social, economic and political ties.


Strong bonds


Italy shares strong political and cultural bonds with the region: the Italy-Latin America and the Caribbean Conference, which will be held in Rome later this year, is the main framework for our cooperation on themes such as energy challenges, interconnectivity, environmental cooperation, and fight against organized crime. Our shared vision for a peaceful and prosperous world, nurtured by the universal values of freedom, democracy and respect of human rights, and our commitment to multilateralism constitute the best foundation for our joint endeavour. Italy, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, is devoting the highest attention to Caribbean security issues that are brought to the attention of the UN body. Furthermore, in its capacity as Chair of the G7, Italy is working with the Small Island Developing States to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Relations between Jamaica and Italy have tremendous potential, and in the coming days, I mean to explore ways to harness it further for the benefit of our countries during my meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, and the Minister of Finance, The Honourable Audley Shaw.

Armando Varricchio

Ambassador of Italy to Jamaica