President, World Federation of Consuls, Arnold Foote (second left); Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Hon. A.J. Nicholson (third left) and Chief Executive Officer, University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr. Cecil White (right), participate in the cutting of a ribbon to open the ambulance donated to the University Hospital of the West Indies by the Government of Turkey. The unit was handed over on Thursday, August 14 on the compound of the University Hospital of the West Indies. Looking on (from left) are: Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew, Andre Hylton and Hon. R. Danny Williams, who spearheaded the effort to get the ambulance.

The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) has received a fully equipped ambulance from the Government of Turkey.

The unit was handed over recently, during a ceremony held on the grounds of the hospital.

Honorary Consul of the Republic of Turkey to Jamaica, Hon. Arnold Foote,   said he became aware of the need of the ambulance by the hospital, after discussions with the Hon. R. Danny Williams, O.J. who is a member of the Trust Board of the University of the West Indies.

“I am very pleased that the Government and people of Turkey responded positively and donated a fully equipped ambulance to the University Hospital,” Mr. Foote said.

In a letter read by Mr. Foote, Turkish Ambassador in charge of the Caribbean, Mr. Hasan Oktem, said that Turkey was proud and happy to donate an ambulance to the University Hospital.

“The need for the ambulance was brought to the attention of the Turkish authorities by the Hon. Mr. Foote…I would like to seize this opportunity to thank him for serving my country in an outstanding manner for almost 20 years,” Mr. Oktem said.

The Ambassador also highlighted the growing relationship between Jamaica and Turkey, since both countries established diplomatic relations 43 years ago.

He informed that following the visit of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency delegation to Jamaica in May 2014, Turkey decided to finance two projects recommended by Jamaica, namely the installation of a solar energy system for schools at a cost of US$56,000, and the installation of an intelligent solar system at a cost of US$30,000.

“My country would be happy to collaborate with the Government of Jamaica in terms of technical assistance in the fields required,” the Ambassador added.

For his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, said that  Turkey was steadily becoming an important partner in Jamaica’s efforts to raise the standard of living for all Jamaicans.

“This handing over ceremony forms part of a comprehensive programme of cooperation with the Government of Turkey. The donation of the ambulance to the University Hospital is meant to be a signal of encouragement to the health and medical fraternity as you face the wider range of challenges in the health sector,” Mr. Nicholson said.

The establishment of diplomatic relations with Turkey also resulted in the signing of a trade and economic cooperation agreement in 2001 and the establishment of a Jamaica/Turkey joint commission, which held its first meeting in Istanbul in 2007.

Turkey has also assisted in the area of Education with offerings of undergraduate scholarships at the University of Turkish Aeronautical Association in the fields of engineering, computing and civil transportation management. Currently there are nine Jamaicans studying in Turkey. Also in 2009, Turkey donated a Renault Camino Brand fire truck.