- Your Excellency President Paul Kagame
- Prime Minister – The Most Honourable Andrew Holness and the Most Honourable Mrs Holness
- Former Prime Ministers the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson & Hon Bruce Golding and Mrs Golding
- Members of Cabinet & Senators
- Your Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps
- Ladies and Gentlemen
It is with pleasure that Lady Allen and I welcome you to King’s House and to this Dinner to honour our very special guest, His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda. This being is the President’s first visit to Jamaica we hope that his stay will be an enjoyable one. We want him to experience the warmth and generosity of our people first-hand.
Jamaica and Rwanda share a natural bond and kinship forged by the strong affinity that Jamaica has with the African Continent. Our countries also share a commitment to ensuring the sustained growth and development of our People.
Since the establishment of Diplomatic Relations in 1998, we have taken many important strides towards deepening our partnership. On Monday, I received the Letters of Credence from His Excellency Claver Gatete, the Rwandan High Commissioner to Jamaica. In our brief discussion, he committed to expand cooperation and working toward strengthening our relationships.
This historic visit by President Kagame should have taken place two years ago, but because of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic we were not able to do so; but we now have the opportunity to meet, expand, deepen and develop our friendship.
The discussions that will take place over the course of this Visit, will elaborate on frameworks for future cooperation in areas such as sport, climate change, culture, tourism, health, human resource development, trade and investment.
We were distressed, as no doubt you were about the Rwandan crisis of the 1990s but you rose like a Phoenix from the ashes to become a model of economic growth for other developing countries. The level of progress and the very mature approach towards reconstruction in this ‘land of a thousand hills’ has made the country an excellent example of how to advance social transformation.
Indeed, we note with admiration over the past 28 years, that the national commitment to reconciliation has not only helped to heal the nation but has also paved the way for a more equal and inclusive society.
Jamaica has had the privilege of engaging in several fora, alongside Rwanda at the United Nations, the Group of 77, the Commonwealth, and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. This has allowed us to appreciate the extent of Rwandan capability and leadership.
Excellency, the stable environment that has been occasioned by the remarkable success that Rwanda continues to enjoy under your able leadership, demonstrates your dedication, commitment and passion for your beloved country. And for this we commend you.
It is with great pride that Jamaica welcomes you and your Delegation. We are honoured that you are finally able to visit Jamaica and we look forward to many other occasions to welcome you to our shores again.
In addition to the varied experiences that you will have during this brief visit, we hope that you will also take back with you, the warmth and best wishes of the Government and People of Jamaica to our brothers and sisters in your country.
I pray your Government and the People of Rwanda will continue to flourish and prosper.
I Thank you.