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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to build closer cultural ties with states in the Caribbean.
We have strong cultural ties with the Caribbean which this Government are committed to maintaining and developing further. We have missions in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, St Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Cuba and Belize. We also have a British Council presence in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Our decision not to close any of our missions in the region during this Government reflects our commitment to a maintaining a close engagement with the Caribbean states.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also provides academic scholarships for individuals in the Caribbean as part of the Chevening Scholarship programme. This programme helps the UK maintain its academic ties with the region and develop our cultural links. The 2012 Olympics will provide further opportunities to build on our cultural and sporting links. Our high commission in Kingston has already had some initial contact with the Jamaican authorities about plans for a 'Jamaica Village' in London during the 2012 Olympics. We expect these and other contacts to increase during the coming year.