Joe Issa urges Justin Trudeau to be Good Jamaican Ally, Warns against Jamaica’s Complacency

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Executive Chairman of Cool Group of companies, Joe Issa, who has hosted new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Jamaica, in an interview urges him to become a strong Jamaican ally, but warns the country against becoming complacent.

Justin Trudeau And Joseph John Issa

I am delighted to have had the opportunity of congratulating Justin on winning the general elections and becoming Prime Minister.

Executive Chairman of Cool Group of companies, Joe Issa, who has hosted new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Jamaica, in an interview urges him to become a great Jamaican ally, but warns the country against becoming complacent.

Issa’s statements came in an interview, as he responded to an article in the North Coast Times titled “Joe Issa Congratulates Former Guest, Canada’s Prime Minister-designate, Justin Trudeau”, accessed on November 6, 2015 at http://www.northcoasttimesja.com/?p=3370, in which he congratulated Trudeau, whom he took jet skiing and dined with several times on one of his many visits to Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s north coast tourism belt.

“I am delighted to have had the opportunity of congratulating Justin on winning the general elections and becoming Prime Minister. I think he will be a good leader as he has spoken about one day building on the successes of his father. In this context I am urging him to be a great ally of our island in his new capacity. We had a lot of fun when he came to Ocho Rios and he loves Jamaica, but I am warning the country not to become complacent in our dealings with Canada,” says Issa in the interview.

Apart from the friendship which they built, Issa’s level of comfort in urging the new Canadian prime minister to be a great ally of Jamaica, hinges on what he told the North Coast Times was Trudeau’s admiration for Jamaica and Jamaicans and his wish “to see Jamaica be the success it ought to be”; as well as his “many positive remarks about the Nation’s soul” and the fact that “he loves the service, beaches and feels comfortable being here”.

“While I am urging him to be a strong ally of Jamaica, our government will have to articulate its vision of the new relations it wants with Canada and it has to be a partnership shared by Justin’s new administration …it cannot be business as usual and certainly not a one-way street…there must be give and take on matters that are of mutual interest and benefit, and I am including Caricom, which will have to lead the trade negotiations that will ensue,” Issa says in the interview.

An October 22, 2015 Jamaica Observer article titled, “Canada's Justin Trudeau will embrace us, but not like his father did”, at http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Canada-s-Justin-Trudeau-will-embrace-us--but-not-like-his-father-did_19234854, agrees with Issa.

It says, “The initial sounds auger well for the Caribbean, as they seem to portend a new impetus for development aid and for an activist policy on climate change issues, both of which are major concerns for the region,” adding, however, that “the Caribbean, of course, must not presume too much on the long-standing friendship of benevolent big brother, Canada. Canadian goodwill exists, and this will not change, but the Canadians want a proactive, forward-looking partnership.”

Noting that former prime ministers Pierre Trudeau of Canada and Michael Manley of Jamaica worked closely because they both believed in the same philosophy of global development and had a common agenda – the new international economic order, the article argues that “friendship is a good starting point for Canada-Caribbean relations, but there has to be an agenda in which both sides are interested.”

Information published by the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica titled “Canada – Jamaica Relations”, accessed on November 6, 2015 at http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/jamaica-jamaique/bilateral_relations_bilaterales/canada_jamaica-jamaique.aspx?lang=eng, shows that while “Jamaica is a key partner for Canada’s engagement with the Americas,” Canada is also “a key international partner for Jamaica in its efforts to fight crime and violence.”

It cited the “Anti-Crime and the Counter-Terrorism capacity building programs, training in polygraph operations, cyber-security, maritime border security, and anti-money laundering techniques,” among the assistance that have been provided to Jamaica.

It claims that Caricom has received “development assistance through the $600 million, twelve-year Caribbean Regional Development Program announced in 2007,” which “addresses sustainable economic development, justice sector reform and disaster mitigation.

And while informing that Jamaica had benefited from a “four-year, $17.2 million program entitled Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) which was launched in December 2011,” the Canadian High Commission mentions a December 2014 announcement of a $20-million contribution to the Citizen Security and Justice Program, Phase III for Jamaica.

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