Caribbean Tour by the King and Queen of Spain

  February 19, 2009 at 7:24 pm by

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia en route to the Caribbean

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This week King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain are making State visits to Trinidad and Tobago and to Jamaica.

The King and Queen began this week by travelling to Trinidad and Tobago. On their arrival at Port-of-Spain their Majesties were welcomed by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning, and later they met with Professor George Maxwell Richards, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and his wife Jean Ramjohn-Richards.

Later, the King addressed the Parliament of the Republic. In his speech he said: “Our presence today in Port-of-Spain is a moment that the Queen and I have long been waiting for. Our two countries are linked by deep-rooted historical ties,” and described Trinidad and Tobago as a “dynamic nation, with one of the highest per capita incomes in this hemisphere, enjoying an important economy.” The King concluded his address by saying, “My hope and wish that we all maintain in our hearts the memory of this important reencounter between Trinidad and Tobago and Spain, so that it may become a symbol, not just of the affection and friendship that unite our two Nations, but also of the great possibilities for cooperation that open up before us.”

It is now forty years since these two nations established diplomatic relations. This anniversary coincides with the opening of a Spanish resident Embassy in Port-of-Spain, intended to expand the bilateral relations.

Among other diplomatic activities this short state visit finished with an act in support of the Spanish language celebrated in the Jean Pierre Complex Stadium. Spanish, a language spoken by more than four hundred million people around the world, which has become the second most important language international communication, is the second official language in Trinidad and Tobago.

On Tuesday afternoon the King and Queen started their state visit to Jamaica. Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy of the Commonwealth, with Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign.

On their arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport, the King and Queen were met by the Governor General, Sir Kenneth Hall, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding. After this meeting the King addressed the Parliament. In his speech, the King paid tribute to “all Jamaicans who gave their lives in the fight against slavery, one of the most execrable crimes committed by Humankind.”

Jamaica was under Spanish rule for more than 160 years, and this is the first ever visit by the King of Spain. The King marked this issue in his speech: “Almost fifty years after Independence, the democratic system symbolised by this Parliament, the first in the English-speaking Caribbean, can take pride in its exemplary and constant record of stability and respect for the rules of democracy.Today your nation can be proud of its history and its people.” After the session in Parliament the King and Queen attended a gala dinner offered in their honour by The Prime Minister of Jamaica and his wife.

The visit concluded with the signing of various bilateral agreements and visits to a couple of exhibitions.

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