Bristol To Strengthen Cultural And Economic Links With Jamaica
Bristol has a thriving Jamaican community
The Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew, Jamaica, has promised to increase his city’s links to Bristol.
Mayor Delroy Williams says he is proud of to see the success of Jamaica’s diaspora in Bristol and is looking forward to strengthening economic and cultural ties between the two cities.
He has also praised Bristol for having a Mayor, Lord Mayor and Deputy Mayor who all have Jamaican heritage.
Mr Williams’ comments were made at the close of the Global Parliament of Mayors conference which was held in Bristol last week.
He appeared at a special celebration for the Jamaican diaspora at the Rose Green Centre in Whitehall with the High Commissioner of Jamaica, Seth George Ramocan; Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees; Deputy Mayor, Asher Craig and Lord Mayor, Cleo Lake.
Speaking to Bristol Live, Mr Williams said: “The connection is something that is being discussed informally in Bristol by the Jamaican diaspora and I know Kingston would be delighted to have a sister city arrangement,” he added.
“We have to connect with the Jamaican diaspora and Bristol has a strong Jamaican community, so it is part of my responsibility to connect with Jamaicans to encourage them and support them.”
While reluctant to talk about the recent Windrush scandal – which saw thousands of people with Caribbean heritage forced to ‘prove’ their eligibility to stay in the UK despite the destruction of vital documents by the Home Office – Mr Williams said Mr Ramocan is “in dialogue with the UK government”.
He also took questions from members of the public about crime rates in Kingston, the tourist economy and shortages of high quality, affordable homes.
Mr Rees took the opportunity to say he “looks forward” to exploring a stronger relationship between Kingston and Bristol at the event.
“I first met Mayor Williams in Singapore when we were over there for the World Cities Summit,” he said.
“One of the real strong themes was how does the island work best with the diaspora wherever they are and that is about spiritual support and what we can do to help support the economy, political strength as well.
“There is a wider piece we can do about what can we all do here to foster the strength of the Jamaican economy.
“I think there is a natural link [between Bristol and Jamaica] and not just for cultural benefits, but also economic. I’m really looking forward to exploring those.”
Ms Craig described the event as a “huge coup” for Bristol.“There are a lot of people who live in the city who come from Kingston and St Andrew who have family members there so he has shared his amazing vision for the city and has talked about trying to connect people in Jamaica and Bristol and how we can work together to look at investment opportunities.”
Attendees were treated to a feast of traditional Jamaican food including jerk chicken and saltfish and ackee.
A round of applause was dedicated to event organizer Primrose Granville who was sadly unable to attend.