KINGSTON: President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on a four-day visit to Jamaica, arrived at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston where he received a rousing welcome from the Jamaicans and the Indian expatriates.
This is the first-ever visit by an Indian President to Jamaica. He is accompanied by his wife, first lady Savita Kovind, daughter Swati Kovind, Union Minister Pankaj Chowdhary, Lok Sabha MP Rama Devi, Satish Kumar Gautam and Secretary-Level Officers.
President Kovind was accorded a ceremonial welcome, a Guard of Honour and a 21-gun-salute, in the first-ever visit by an Indian head of state, and was escorted by the Chief Defense Staff of Jamaica.
On the Jamaican side, the Governor-General of Jamaica Patrick Allen, Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, members of the cabinet, Chief of Defense Staff and commissioner of police were present.
Meanwhile, on the Indian side, Masakui Rungsung, High Commissioner of India to Jamaica and his spouse Zingcharwon Rungsung were present.
Upon his arrival at Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Jamaicans and the Indian expatriates extended a warm welcome to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Several programmes are scheduled during the President’s visit to Jamaica which include paying a floral tribute at the shrine of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey as well as a signing ceremony (MOU agreement) to be held at the Prime Minister’s house.
President Kovind will also inaugurate “Ambedkar Avenue”, a road named after Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar tomorrow. He will also inaugurate the Jamaica-India friendship garden.
In the evening, President Ram Nath Kovind will gift cricket kits to aspiring cricketers in Jamaica. A cricket kit will also be handed over to Billy Heaven, President of the Jamaica Cricket Association.
There have been regular bilateral tournaments between India and the West Indies cricket team. Some of the matches (T-20, ODI and Test matches) take place in Kingston as well. This has made India and Jamaica natural partners for cooperation in sports. An Memorandum of Understanding in the field of sports cooperation between the two countries is in its final stages.
The programme will conclude with an expatriate community event. India is committed to strengthening linkages with Indian expatriates in Jamaica, and encouraging their participation in the process of national development.
President Kovind is on a state visit to Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from May 15 to 21. He had a one-day technical halt in Milan, Italy. This is the first visit by the head of state of India to these two countries.
India and Jamaica have traditionally enjoyed cordial relations based on democratic values, common linkages of history, a Parliamentary democratic system, membership in the Commonwealth, use of the English language and the love for cricket.