Vice President Kamala Harris planned to meet on Wednesday (March 30) with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness at the White House.
The bilateral meeting in Washington, the first by a Jamaican prime minister since 1995, marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the countries.
It’s intended to “underscore the importance” to the Biden administration of the ties between the United States and Jamaica, as well as the importance of the Caribbean region, the Miami Herald quoted an unnamed U.S. official.
“The vice president is looking forward to strengthening this partnership during this visit and in the months and years ahead,” the official said. “The U.S.-Jamaica partnership is based on deep economic and people-to-people ties and shared interests in our Hemisphere.”
Harris’ agenda for the meeting included discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic, economic growth and recovery, as well as climate and energy security.
Citing a Jamaican government source, the Herald said the prime minister planned to raise the topics of national security and investment support with Harris.
The Biden administration is trying to build strong ties throughout the Caribbean Community (also known as CARICOM).
In October, Harris met with Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. According to the Herald, some of the issues that are most important to CARICOM nations include obtaining low-interest loans from international monetary institutions to counterbalance the pandemic’s impact on tourism, rising fuel costs, and political instability in Haiti.
Harris has roots on the Caribbean island through her Jamaica-born economist father Donald Harris. The vice president visited the country as a child and spent time there with relatives, the Los Angeles Times reports. Harris recalled in her memoirs that her mother, who immigrated from India, raised the future vice president and her sister, Maya Harris, to be “Black girls” because that’s how America would view their racial identity.