Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrived in Jamaica Wednesday afternoon for a three-day state visit, which, according to a Jamaican local media, is aimed to strengthen bilateral ties between both countries.
This is Kagame’s first official visit to the Caribbean island.
The Jamaica Information Service announced that President Kagame will be received at the Norman Manley International Airport to a 21-gun salute before holding meetings with Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Allen, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and other government officials including Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith.
The official visit comes a few days after Jamaica announced that Minister Kamina Johnson Smith will contest for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General against the current Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland, who is seeking a second term.
Patricia Scotland has been under scrutiny by rich member nations after a 2020 internal audit revealed that she awarded a lucrative contract to her friend. She denied the allegations and insisted that she followed the organisation’s procurement rules.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has indicated he does not intend to raise the matter of Minister Smith’s candidature for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General to President Kagame.
Rwanda will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in June. The meeting will gather delegates from 54 states and will be attended by Prince Charles and his wife Duchess Camilla, and members are expected to elect a Secretary-General through consensus.
President Kagame’s visit comes during the year of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence.
The Prime Minister’s statement noted that the visit will also help to reinforce “the steadily burgeoning relationship between the African continent and the Caribbean member countries (Caricom) region”.