BY GEOFFREY ISAYA
President Uhuru Kenyatta is in the eastern Caribbean island nation of Barbados for a three-day State visit. Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said the President landed in the capital Bridgetown and was received by Prime Minister Mia Mottley after his visit to Jamaica.
He is scheduled to hold talks with PM Mottley. “Amongst issues to be discussed include revitalising to bilateral relations, strategies for African common prosperity and cooperation in multilateral issues of mutual concern/benefit,” the CS said in a tweet.
Mr Kenyatta will also take part in the Caribbean Heads of Government meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, a government-owned conference facility on the outskirts of Bridgetown. He will also attend dinner and a cultural evening hosted by PM Mottley.
In his Jamaica tour, Mr Kenyatta and Prime Minister Andrew Holness launched celebrations to mark the International Decade of People of African Descent in Kingston. The fete marking the United Nations designated period was held on the same day that Jamaica observed its 57th independence anniversary on Tuesday.
The launch of the celebrations coincided with the 400-year anniversary of the time ships carrying Africans first landed in the Americas. The President also visited the Jamaican Heroes Circle where he laid a wreath at the shrine of Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey.
He was also the chief guest at the 67th Jamaica Agricultural Show at Denbigh. On Monday, Mr Kenyatta and PM Holness said the two countries would work more closely with each other especially in exchanging expertise and technical knowhow in several sectors among them sports, agriculture and tourism.
They also said that plans are underway plans to introduce air transport connections between Kenya and Jamaica. The president said Kenya is keen on reinvigorating its ties with Jamaica, which thrived during the days of the struggle for independence from colonialism. “Let us strengthen the bonds of shared values. We can create great linkages in areas like tourism and athletics,” said the President.
In one of his address to a team of government officials, the President left the Jamaicans in stitches in the way he revealed he had relatives of Jamaican origin. “In fact, even my wife’s brother’s mother is a Jamaican. She, however, stays in Kenya. That is how we closely relate with this country,” he said.
KENYANS IN JAMAICA
Mr Kenyatta also met Kenyans living in Jamaica. He instructed Kenya’s Ambassador in Cuba Anthony Muchiri, who is also the envoy to Jamaica, to divide his time equally between the countries he serves.
Speaking during a meeting with the Kenyan diaspora in Kingston, Mr Kenyatta said Mr Muchiri will devote more time to support the Kenyan diaspora in Jamaica and work to create more opportunities for Kenyans in the Caribbean nation.
“The government is here to support you and create more opportunities for Kenyans and also show opportunities existing for Jamaicans in Kenya,” he said.
President Kenyatta, who is accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, and Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), Najib Balala (Tourism) and Amina Mohamed (Sports), said Kenya and Jamaica have a lot in common and can learn from each other.
“No matter the distance between our lands we are all one people,” said President Kenyatta as he called on the diaspora community to be good ambassadors. “Be like a torch which shines the path for other Kenyans and be the mirror that Jamaicans can look into to see who Kenyans are,” said the President.