Remarks on Arrival in Kingston, Jamaica

April 7, 1982

Well, Prime Minister Seaga and Mrs. Seaga, Nancy and I are very glad to see you again and appreciate very much meeting the distinguished members of your government who are here today.

When we met in Washington just after I took office, you told me of the energy, the skills, and the creative genius of your people. You told me of the beauty of this country and the hospitality of its people. Well, Nancy and I are delighted to have your kind invitation to visit Jamaica as so many Americans do each year.

When we last met, we agreed on the importance of the Caribbean and the need to take vigorous action to strengthen the democratic governments and economies of Jamaica and our neighbors. Our talks convinced me that the talents of the Jamaican people, the peoples throughout the Caribbean, are the hope for the economic recovery of this region so near and so vital to all of us. The progress that you are making here with your own program shows what can be done when people living in a democratic society are given the opportunity to work and to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

As we agreed in Washington, the United States can best help by expanding the opportunity of your people and those of your neighbors to trade freely with us, to give them a chance to produce and sell their products in a competitive, free market. Trade lies at the heart of the proposals I sent to the Congress on March 17th to begin the initiative that we've been planning for almost a year. Our discussions here in Kingston will be valuable to me in learning how we can best go forward in carrying out the plans that we've laid. I learned a great deal from our earlier discussions, and I know these will be equally useful.

The success of our venture depends on cooperation, and cooperation is easier between friends who share the same ideals. For this reason we're pleased to find ourselves working together with the leaders of countries with such strong democratic traditions.

Jamaica is known in the United States not only for its beauty but for the courage of its people and the freedom they cherish and staunchly defend. Jamaica is an inspiration to all of us who believe economic development and freedom are compatible and in practice are mutually reinforcing. Freedom enhances the creativity of man. The reality of economic progress strengthens the people's faith in freedom.

I'm looking forward to our meetings with you and your Ministers and discussing the entire range of issues in our relationship. I know they will strengthen the already close ties of friendship between our two countries and continue the progress toward the goals of freedom and prosperity we seek for the Caribbean.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:10 p.m. at the Norman Manley International Airport, where he was greeted by Loren E. Lawrence, U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, Prime Minister and Mrs. Edward Philip George Seaga, and a delegation of Jamaican officials.

Following their arrival, the President and Mrs. Reagan paid a courtesy call on the Governor General of Jamaica, Sir Florizel Glasspole, and Lady Glasspole, at King's House, the Governor General's residence.