2006-04-07 / Community

Meeks Attends Jamaica Inauguration, Meets New Female Prime Minister

Gregory meeks and Simpson MillerGregory meeks and Simpson Miller Congressman Gregory Meeks, a member of the House International Relations Committee and its Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, last week took part in an official United States congressional delegation to Jamaica for the inauguration of newly elected Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller.Along with the people of Jamaica, Congressman Meeks and other international leaders celebrated the first female prime minister of this Caribbean nation.

"There is a paradigm shift taking place in the world with the election of Michelle Bachelet of Chili, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and now Portia Simpson Miller as the Prime Minister of Jamaica," Meeks said.“I can see this trend drawing closer and closer to home and I look forward to the United States some day soon electing its first woman President," he continued.

In her inaugural address, Prime Minister Simpson Miller pledged to implement an "integrated community-based crime reduction strategy" which will include a Jamaican version of the COMSTAT system pioneered by the New York Police Department.The Prime Minister focused on economic development, saying her government would undertake a development program for large and small businesses, and workforce training, especially for youth.Simpson Miller also appealed to the international community to aid her country's development.

Reacting to Simpson Miller's speech, Congressman Meeks, who represents the Sixth Congressional District in Southeast Queens and supports the "Third Border Initiative" that was launched during the Third Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in April 2001, said that the United States should respond immediately and positively.“We should use the occasion of the election of a new Jamaican prime minister to deepen our cooperation with Jamaica and other Caribbean nations."He pointed out "the U.S. is in a unique position to enhance the economic development and integration of the Caribbean."Meeks also noted that the United States is Jamaica's most important trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to $2 billion U.S. dollars.“Jamaica is an important partner in fighting drug trafficking to the United States from South America.In addition, we regard Jamaica's security standards at its major container port as an international best practice which should be used by other ports around the world - including our own," he added.Meeks has previously introduced legislation that identifies the importance of peace, security, and stability in the Western Hemisphere.He plans to sponsor a resolution to honor Prime Minister Simpson Miller.

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