The strain on the diplomatic relationship between the United States and Jamaica caused over the handling of the extradition case of Tivoli strongman Christopehr ‘Dudus’ Coke — now eight months past — shouldn’t affect business between the two countries, reckons Donald Sweitzer, a senior strategic advisor on international business and a former political advisor to President Bill Clinton.
Sweitzer, who was the keynote speaker at the American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica (AMCHAM) Breakfast Forum held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, yesterday told the Business Observer that the current impasse is a minor one on the scale of potential impact on business activities between the countries.
“I don’t think this issue rises to that level,” Sweitzer said. “I’m aware of the issues that’s going on between the two governments, but I don’t think that would affect the attitudes that my company or others would have about investment in Jamaica.”
He went on: “Having come out of government and being very active and having many friends in the Obama administration I know this: that the relationship between the United States and Jamaica is an important one for our country. It’s also an important one for your country, but it is a long-standing warm and friendly relationship and it will remain so. There are always tensions and individual problems that exist between countries. I’m sure all of that will work out, but it will not affect the very positive relationship that exists with these countries, that I know.”
The theme for AMCHAM’s forum was “building strong relationships across international borders in the new global environment”.
Investments, Sweitzer believes will depend more on the resolution of the economic challenges facing both countries.
“You are going through your economic troubles just as we are in the Unites States,” Sweitzer said. “You are taking some steps here recently with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and others that are very constructive. I think the economic opportunities that are here are very positive and not affected by issues that are going on between the governments.”
Sweitzer, is also chairman of GTech, the gaming and commercial technology and services company that provides Supreme Ventures Limited with its technology platform for online gaming.
“In our business, it is an intersection of government, politics, business and gaming and that can be a very volatile mix,” Sweitzer added. “Sometimes the things that happen in government are well beyond your control. You must be ready for anything. You must adjust and be sensitive to the issues affecting the country.”