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Prime Minister meets with Jamaican Diaspora in Ethiopia

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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, while on her visit to Addis Abba, Ethiopia held a meeting with members of the Jamaican Diaspora, many of whom journeyed over 150 miles away from the town of Shashamane, where members of the Rastafari movement and other persons from Jamaica and the Caribbean have settled.

In 1948, Emperor Haile Selassie I, donated 500 acres of his private land for the purpose of creating the town of Shashamane in central Ethiopia.

The Prime Minister accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister A.J. Nicholson held bilateral talks with the Presidents of Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa on a range of strategic cooperation issues including airlift, trade and investment.

Meanwhile, addressing the 50th anniversary Summit of the Organisation of African Unity on Saturday, Prime Minister Simpson Miller renewed Jamaica’s commitment to the nations of Africa, noting that our prominent role in the non-aligned movement and the anti-apartheid struggle made Jamaica a natural ally of the African Union.

“Jamaica and indeed the entire Caribbean community are proud of our African heritage and the strong links that we have forged with many African countries,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said, noting that although separated by distance and water the countries and people remain connected by the blood bonds of ancestry.

The Prime Minister said Jamaica was firmly committed to ensuring that strengthened relations with the AU become a stronger priority on the CARICOM agenda and that “the commonality of our shared African history and legacy must now be channelled into tangible projects that will harness the energies of our peoples to build our societies and economies.”

Recalling Jamaica’s principled stance in the Pan African struggles and evoked in the messages of Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said: “Marley's Redemption Song is, for us in the African Diaspora, a reminder of the dehumanizing experiences our ancestors suffered and evokes the spirit of Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance.”

In joining other world leaders in expressing solidarity with the nations of the African Union, Prime Minister Simpson Miller emphasised that Jamaica regarded the struggle for justice and human dignity as indivisible and border less. She recalled that "when people of African origin were seen as less than human and deemed only fit for domination, Marcus Garvey saw (them as) people with a rich history and culture, and a people with a bright future."

Prime Minister Simpson Miller who has been in Addis Ababa since last Friday leading Jamaica’s delegation to the celebratory 50th anniversary events of the African Union returned to the island on Tuesday.