Michael Manley, the politically beleagured prime minister of near-bankrupt Jamaica, stopped off her today to attempt some image refurbishing.
In a press conference and in a series of interviews, Manley held out prospects of a warm welcome to any foreign investor and said his relations with the Carter adminstration are good.
Investors have been frightened and the Carter administration angered by Manley rhetoric in the past. The prime minister was active in promoting the anti-American attacks that flowed from the Havanas conference of so-called non-aligned nations last year, and he has steered Jamaica into close relations with Cuba.
After eight years in power, Manley trails his conservative opposition in opinion polls and is widely expected to lose the election which will be held within a few months.
Following Jamaica's refusal to accept International Monetary Fund loan conditions last March, the island faces a $430 million short-term deficit this year. Manley's finance minister, Hugh Small, was rebuffed in April when he asked New York and Canadian bankers for emergency financial aid.
Manley was determinedly conciliatory toward the United States today and stressed recent successes in the field of economic development rather than Jamaica's massive problems.
Manley said he sees no contradiction in having good relations with both Cuba and the United States. He blamed "wildly inaccurate" press accounts for creating "lurid impressions" about Jamaica, including that it was "going Communist."
Jamaica is committed to having a free, democratic society, Manley said.
The economy has been bolstered by loans of $50 million from Libya and $25 million from the Netherlands, and by assistance of various types totaling $23 million from two unnamed members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countires and West Germany and Sweden, Manley said.
For the long term, he said plans have been completed for an investment of $1 billion in the next five years to add 50 percent to Jamaica's alumina-producing capacity. Bauxite and alumna are the island's major exports.
Algeria, Iraq, the Soviet Union, Venezuela and Mexico have made new commitments to purchase Jamaica's production, he said.
Manley, who stopped here en route home from Libya, said tourism revenue increased 43 percent in 1978 over 1977 and grew another 14 percent last year.
Crime is down slightly, he said.
Manley said that following the upcoming election, Jamacia will have to sit down with its creditors to plan a major refinancing of its external debt.