- Your Excellency, Dr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, President of the Republic of Colombia
- Hon. Bruce Golding – Prime Minister and Mrs. Golding
- Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
- Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller – Leader of the Opposition
- Former Prime Ministers, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga and the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson
- Your Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps
- Ambassador the Hon. David Muirhead – Senior Member of the Privy Council
- Reverend Lenworth Anglin
- Other distinguished guests
- Ladies and gentlemen,
Lady Allen joins me in extending a warm welcome to each one of you and a special welcome to Your Excellency Dr. Santos Calderon and members of his delegation, to Jamaica. We are happy to receive you on this your first state visit here.
Jamaica accords much importance to the longstanding friendship it enjoys with Colombia. Indeed, the Jamaica – Colombia connection dates back to over 200 years, from the time that Jamaican wood-cutters and fishermen first settled in San Andres and Providencia Islands.
This historical bond forms the foundation of the relations that now exist between our two countries; a relationship that is informed by a commitment to democratic values, human rights and respect for our fellow citizens; and a relationship that is solidly underpinned by a common belief that diversity is a source of strength and cultural enrichment.
The strength of our relations lies not only in our historical ties and long legacy of cooperation, but also in our ability and willingness to learn from each other’s experiences and achievements, and our desire to work for the common good of humanity. Your visit, Excellency, will provide us with a unique opportunity to expand and deepen our partnership.
In this spirit, I invite all of you to join me in a toast to the prosperity and well-being of President Calderon and people of the Republic of Colombia.