Jamaicans are still dancing and brimming with glee months after the visit of the United States president Barack Obama to their small but strategically located island. It was obvious that it wouldn’t be long after the United States came with their promises of spare oil, parts and money that the Russians would be coming with their own counter offer.
Interestingly, when then president Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica, it was at the height of the cold war and the spread of socialist influence throughout the Caribbean. So it is not surprising that Obama’s visit came at a time when tensions between the United States and Russia are on a rise again.
Well not to be outdone by the Americans, the Russians are now offering to provide agriculture and environment support to Jamaica.
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell says that the Government of Russia has pledged assistance to Jamaica in the areas of agriculture and the environment.
Paulwell is representing Jamaica at the 19th St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Moscow from June 18 to 20.
In making the disclosure, Paulwel said that he has been having meetings with various representatives from the Russian Government to strengthen cooperation in specialised areas.
“I held discussions with the Agriculture Minister, Alexander Tkachov. That discussion was very productive. The minister has pledged to assist Jamaica with restoring our mined-out bauxite lands to full productivity. He promised to share with us the latest in Russian technology and expressed hope that both livestock and food crops can be exported from Jamaica to Russia,” the minister said.
He added that coming out of talks with Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Sergei Donskoi an agreement has been reached to provide support to the island on environmental issues.
“A lot was discussed. In the end it was agreed that Russia would offer its assistance to Jamaica,” said Paulwell.
The minister said he is looking forward to the start of discussions at the forum, which is being held under the theme: ‘Time to Act: Shared Paths to Stability and Growth’.
The annual forum gathers the world’s leading decision makers to identify and deliberate the key challenges facing emerging markets and growth economies, Russia and the world, and engage them in finding solutions.
It includes an energy summit, where Government representatives from several countries, including Russia and Jamaica, chair of energy corporations or their senior executives, as well as industry experts, are expected to participate in debates, seminars, and country-specific round-table discussions, for the exchange of ideas and insights on Global Energy and Development strategies.
Prior to the start of the forum, Minister Paulwell also met with executives of Russian aluminium giant, United Company Rusal Alumina Limited (UC Rusal), and several Jamaican students studying in the country.