Looking forward to building relations between new Zealand and Jamaica, New Zealand’s incoming non-resident High Commissioner to Jamaica, Daniel Mellsop was buoyed by his visit to Jamaica late October when he presented his letter of introduction to Prime Minister Andrew Holness to officially begin his tour of duty.
In a brief interview with the Gleaner, Mellsop, who is also his country’s High Commissioner to Canada, described the talks with the Prime Minister as “very good and positive. We covered a number of subjects embracing both New Zealand and Jamaica’s mutual interests in the international and domestic spheres.”
Similar talks with senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade also went well, he said as he pointed to the heritage New Zealand and Jamaica shared particularly in the multilateral sphere with both countries being members of the United Nations, The Commonwealth and Small Island States.
He also met with a number of business leaders.
A feature of New Zealand’s bilateral relations is the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Programme through which New Zealand offers scholarships to Jamaicans for postgraduate studies. New Zealand also provides scholarships to CARICOM member states and the Dominican Republic.
Alluding to what he described as “very warm bilateral relations,” between both countries, Mellsop said he would be working to build the relations as well as with the Caribbean region. He wants to do more to assist in areas such as economic reform and trade policy.
In 2014, New Zealand provided an expert in foreign trade policy to assist Jamaica’s foreign ministry on the implementation of Jamaica’s revised foreign trade policy and trade negotiations.
He shared with the Prime Minister New Zealand’s progress in crime fighting and removing difficulties in doing business. The latest rankings have that country as being number one.
New Zealand currently in the area of bilateral cooperation through its Head of Mission Fund, provides discretionary financing for community focused interventions for a number of local projects, including the Greenvale Community Sports Club and the Snowdown Early childhood and Primary schools in Manchester.
The aim of the Greenvale Community Sports Club project is to enhance the overall image of the community and the personal, social and career choices of the youths so that they can improve their capacity to better function as productive members of society. This will be done through the facilitation of three separate workshops and some 30 youths will participate.
This project also aims at improving the sports infrastructure community through improvement of the community’s sports ground.
This will be achieved through the construction of stands for the football and cricket spectators, re-laying of cricket pitch, construction of three batting nets and provision of sports gears.
The Snowdon project targets the provision of necessary equipment and resources for the Early Childhood and primary schools as well as to improve their infrastructure.
Mellsop is a career diplomat. He joined the New Zealand Foreign service in 2001. He is also non-resident Ambassador to Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.