Thu | Oct 22, 2020

Canada to help Jamaica build smart economy

Published:Thursday | June 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Government of Canada has committed to helping Jamaica and other Caribbean countries build their capacity to withstand and survive hurricanes and other natural disasters that are frequent in this part of the world.

At the same time the Canadian Government is recommending private sector partnerships to help Jamaica benefit in many other areas, including creating smart cities with sustainable solutions in transportation, environmentally sound construction, power generation and transmission, renewable energy supply, water and wastewater treatment, as well as taking advantage of opportunities related to industrial hemp.

Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Laurie Peters made the commitment and call for partnership in an address at the Build Expo and Conference at the Montego Bay Conference Centre on June 8.

Peters said Canada is experienced in delivering climate mitigation and adaptation projects and supports the building of durable climate-resilient infrastructure in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

“As a recognized world leader in structuring and delivering public-private partnerships, Canada can play a role in the development of the country’s infrastructure projects such as the planned logistics hub initiative and climate-related infrastructure projects,” she said.

Peters noted the involvement in the Build Expo of representatives from Hatch Engineering and Cole Engineering, two Canadian companies that are active worldwide, including in the Caribbean, delivering on projects as varied as water and wastewater systems, transportation, renewable energy, hydro, ports and extractive industries.

She described Build Expo as a “wonderful opportunity” for Canada to continue its engagement with Jamaican businesses as the two countries work together to build a stronger and more resilient Jamaica.

“Canada wants to contribute to your goal of making the Caribbean the first climate-smart region in the world,” said the Canadian diplomat.

Peter noted that in response to the hurricanes last year, Canada provided emergency relief to Caribbean states and consular support for Canadian travellers as part of $2 million worth of immediate humanitarian assistance.

The Canadian Armed Forces were also deployed to support Caribbean countries, in addition to Canada’s support for the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility which enabled $50 million in immediate payouts to hurricane-affected countries.

At the UN-CARICOM Pledging Conference last year, the Canadian official pointed out that the North American country had pledged $100 million for Caribbean reconstruction and climate resilience.