US Ambassador to Jamaica, Pamela Bridgewater Awkard paid a courtesy call on Transport and Works Minister Mike Henry on May 18, 2011.
The Ambassador expressed pleasure at meeting with Minister Henry, noting that she is aware of and impressed with the ‘energy he brings to bear’ on the various projects of his portfolio. Among the matters discussed were ‘Open Skies’ Agreements; Highway 2000, JDIP, Port expansion and the return of the passenger rail service.
On the matter of Air service, Minister Henry sought to enlist the assistance of the Ambassador Bridgewater in turning the dreaded ‘middle passage’ of the slavery era into an ‘air passage’. Especially within the context of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary celebrations, next year, the minister said he would like to have regular flights between Jamaica and various countries by then. The Ambassador said she was prepared to make available to the Minister any links/resources she had with a view to making the request become a reality.
Turning to the matter of roads, the Ambassador said she noted the efforts the Minister was making in trying to make the roads better for all users. In the ensuing discussions, the role of JDIP and the Chinese government was discussed. The expansion of Port services also came in for extensive talks with the Minister noting that in addition to the Port of Kingston, Falmouth Pier was also expanded to the point where it recently played host to the largest cruise liner, ‘Oasis of the Seas’. Minister Henry also highlighted the fact that the port expansion and the return of rail service were part of the eventual multi-modal transport system.
Both Minister Henry and Ambassador Bridgewater expressed the view that they would like to see more US investment in Jamaica. To this end, Ambassador Bridgewater sought to get an idea of specific areas where opportunities might reside for US investment.
Ambassador Bridgewater was accompanied by Political and Economic Officer of the US Embassy, Mr. James Hathaway.