Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Niu Qingbao | 'I would never chide Jamaicans'

Published:Thursday | August 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Niu Qingbao, Chinese ambassador to Jamaica.

I was surprised by your good newspaper's front-page headline 'Chinese ambassador chides local professionals, players who want MOU halted' of Tuesday, August 22. For the record, I hold in high esteem Jamaicans, including professionals in the building sector. I did not, and will not "chide" them.

Your report quoted an RJR interview of me aired on Monday, August 21. I recall only two sentences of mine were broadcast: "Well, I haven't been approached by Masterbuilders. I think as professionals, it is best for the Masterbuilders to get to Chinese companies to exchange whether they can do a better service." May I stress that I said the above to suggest that the Jamaican and Chinese construction companies get together to exchange experiences so as to better serve Jamaican customers and improve Jamaican infrastructure. I was by no means angry or frustrated when I said the above. To the contrary, I just wanted to offer my advice - that together we exalt.

Since your front-page story starts with the MOU between the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and China Construction America South America Division (CCASA) for the development of Kingston and adjoining areas, I wish to share my memory of it. The Chinese Government is not party to the MOU, so I am not in a position to make comments on its pros or cons. But, I did attend the signing ceremony and recall that the modality for the execution of the project will be determined by the GOJ. Prime Minister Andrew Holness promised that this would be a partnership, everything would be done according to Jamaican laws, and the project would be a showcase of the best of Jamaica. Mr Zheng Xuexuan, vice-president of China Construction who signed the MOU, told me that his company would certainly wish to partner with the Government and industry of Jamaica.

Whether it's the development of Kingston or building of roads and bridges, China and Jamaica are in a mutually beneficial partnership. Chinese companies make reasonable profits, while Jamaica gets infrastructure, investment, jobs and training.

This is also a partnership based on equal footing. Chinese companies would never be able to complete any project without the endorsement of the GOJ and contribution from Jamaican workers. All projects are carried out in accordance with Jamaican laws.

The year 2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two great countries and is witnessing expansion and deepening of China-Jamaica friendly partnership for common development. I am proud to see Chinese gift projects of the new building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and two early-childhood learning institutions proceeding smoothly. The negotiation of the implementation agreement for the western children's hospital project, another Chinese gift, is well under way.

I love Jamaica. I wish Jamaica well. I do not "chide" Jamaicans.

- Niu Qingbao is the Chinese ambassador to Jamaica. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com