(CMR) KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica is moving to improve trade relations with the Cayman Islands.
Holness made the comments while speaking to the Jamaican Diaspora in Cayman last weekend.
During his visit the Prime Minister also held talks with the Premier of the Cayman Islands Alden McLaughlin as well as Government officials.
Holness said it is important to improve the economic and other ties with Cayman.
“I would also want to say to you that, now it's time for Jamaica to be reaching out and having its trade deals with its neighbours. Stronger trade with Jamaica and Cayman is now quite possible and necessary,” said Holness.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister, Holness also gave the Jamaicans in Cayman an update on talks he held with the Government of Cayman.
“In our bilateral talks we have been discussing ways in which that can be achieved, of course, there is the issue of the visa requirement, but I don't look at things as absolute obstacles. I think that there should be talks on this matter as the Jamaican economy improves, as we are finding labour for our people. The relationship between our two countries will slowly be redefined to the point where a visa may not even be necessary, that's the objective, that's what we want to do,” he said.
Holness explained the significant improvements in the Jamaican economy over the past three years particularly in the country's employment figures.
He also alluded to the fact that Jamaica's debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has decreased over the years along with other aspects of economic growth, said OPM.
“In 2013, our debt was about 150 per cent of GDP now we are at 98 per cent of GDP, in the 60s Jamaica was experiencing economic growth of over 7 per centm as high as 12 per cent. So today our economic growth is above 1% but below 2% and it has been that way for the past four years and we have not yet passed the 2% threshold, but the good news is that we are growing” said the prime minister.
The Prime Minister, in closing his address, encouraged Jamaicans living in Cayman to invest in Jamaica as the future of the country's economy is promising.
“The only way forward now is up, and I feel the confidence in the economy. In the society our consumer index in terms of measuring confidence and the producer index in terms of confidence is high, very high, historically high records,”
he told members of the Diaspora in Cayman.