KINGSTON, April 9 — Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to set foot in Jamaica since 1982 yesterday — and made some time for the late reggae legend Bob Marley.
On arrival, Obama descended from Air Force One to greet a long line of people including Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, whom he embraced.
Obama then headed to a helicopter along with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
After a hotel stop, Obama headed to the Bob Marley Museum — the former home of the superstar musician.
The US president — accompanied by aides including National Security Adviser Susan Rice — took a brief tour of the Kingston landmark.
“I still have all the albums,” the US president was heard to say, as he checked out a wall of framed records and awards.
Bob Marley, Jamaica’s musical export with a global following, died of cancer in Florida in 1981.
The museum is a large house with walls painted red, green and yellow and a statue of Marley playing his guitar out front among the palm trees.
“One Love” was being piped from the speakers as Obama emerged through the front door along with his museum tour guide.
The first sitting presidential visit since Ronald Reagan was on the island 33 years ago comes as the Caribbean island nation is navigating a fiscal crisis.
Obama is scheduled to meet the CARICOM regional bloc and possibly offer them an alternative to cheap Venezuelan oil amid a spat with Caracas.
He is also slated to meet with Simpson-Miller.
Later today, Obama heads to Panama, where he may have a landmark meeting with Cuba’s communist President Raul Castro during a meeting of regional nations. — AFP