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Senator Charles Jr, a member of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, is Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. He previously held a similar position in the Ministry of National Security.
Crawford, also a senator, is vice-president of the parliamentary Opposition People's National Party. He also serves as spokesman on Youth and Culture. He's a former Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment.
The two are in Europe for nine days (January 14 - January 23, 2019) – first in Brussels, Belgium where the EU is headquartered, and then Strasbourg, France for a visit to the EU Parliament.
"The programme will provide valuable opportunities to interact with and influence EU officials, deepen understanding of the operation of the EU while exploring pathways for strengthened partnership between the EU and Jamaica," Charles shared from Brussels.
"The EU motto of unity in diversity truly signifies the strength and challenges of this effort to maximize the potential of this union. I am confident that this will be a fulfilling programme with much to be gained for our journey as a nation and region," he added.
For Crawford, the programme, so far, has been "eye-opening particularly all the back office activities that go into making cooperation between nations work".
"Being from a developing nation," he said, "I hope to learn the best practices in the differing EU nations in particular in the areas of education, youth and social equity.”
The two senators join a growing list of Jamaican politicians who've participated in the programme over the years.
Head of Delegation of the European Union in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, said the EUVP and other such exchange programmes, help to improve understanding among professionals from different backgrounds, and build bridges between partner countries and the EU.
"Senator Charles Jr and Mr Crawford are emerging political leaders whose influence on Jamaican politics will continue to grow. Deepening the relationship with Jamaica also means building the linkages with Jamaican leaders and strengthening our exchanges and ultimately our shared understanding," she said.
The EUVP helps strengthen long-term bilateral relations between the EU and participating countries.