FULL STATEMENT: Chinese Embassy hits back at Bunting
The Chinese Embassy in Kingston has rejected as false several assertions by Opposition MP Peter Bunting about Chinese workers in Jamaica.
In a video posted on YouTube, Bunting also questioned whether the Chinese were taking over Jamaica through economic colonisation.
But in a statement today, an Embassy spokesperson rejected Bunting's assertions.
SEE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
Kingston, Jamaica, August 11, 2017: On August 8, 2017, a video titled 'Chinese Take Over?' in which MP Peter Bunting asserted that there is “a form of economic colonialism by Chinese businesses operating in Jamaica” was shared on YouTube and other Social Media Platforms.
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Jamaica is offended by these unsubstantiated claims which have generated widespread discussion. We believe these claims could encourage a backlash and create an unsafe environment for Chinese Nationals working in Jamaica.
We wish to address the following allegations:
Allegation One: Chinese companies operating in Jamaica are government owned and therefore have unlimited resources which Jamaican companies cannot compete against.
Fact: There are clear separations between the Chinese Government and the management of Chinese state-owned enterprises. State-owned enterprises operate independently under business rules and assume sole responsibility for their profits and losses. The Government does not underwrite losses of state-owned enterprises. The Chinese Government continues to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Jamaica as long as these projects bring value to the Jamaican people and are profitable.
Allegation Two: Chinese companies in Jamaica engage in unfair competition.
Fact: Chinese companies are by nature very competitive. Their primary aim is the satisfaction of their customers by delivering timely, within budget and high quality work. Duty concessions are usually offered for projects that are joint ventures with Government of Jamaica such as the North South Highway and in other cases as a way to attract foreign investors. Concessions offered by the Jamaican Government are not limited to Chinese companies but are made available to other Foreign Investors.
Allegation Three: Chinese companies employ more Chinese than Jamaican workers and some even use convict labour.
Fact: The number of Jamaicans on staff at all Chinese companies far outnumber Chinese staff.
*Pan-Caribbean Sugar Co. Ltd currently has 800 local staff and only 26 Chinese staff.
*JISCO Alpart bauxite/alumina plant has 730 local staff and 151 Chinese staff.
*CHEC currently employs 268 local staff and 109 Chinese staff.
The allegation that Chinese companies use convict labour is offensive and false. Such serious allegations by a former Minister of National Security should at the very least be substantiated by evidence. If Mr Bunting can produce such evidence, the Chinese Embassy will not hesitate to support whatever sanctions the Jamaican Government would wish to impose on the offending company.
Allegation Four: Chinese companies in Jamaica are not transparent.
Fact: All Chinese companies have to have their documents cleared by Jamaican authorities before they are allowed to operate in Jamaica. The companies operate under Jamaican laws and regulations. If any Chinese Company is found to be operating outside of the law, it is up to the Jamaican Authorities to take action. This Embassy and by extension the Government of China support the rule of law. We have also taken steps to promote the learning of English by our Chinese workers and Chinese by Jamaicans to promote better communication and mutual understanding.
Although Mr Bunting claimed he has asked us for information, the Embassy has so far not received any request via phone, letter or email from him on this matter.
China and Jamaica have had a long friendship and over the years our economic partnerships have been mutually beneficial. Chinese companies will continue to offer to the Jamaican Government and people value for money in the contracts they pursue.
As we did recently in granting a request from the Government of Jamaica to supply the fireworks for the Grand Gala Celebrations, and the construction of a Children’s Hospital in Western Jamaica, the Government of China will continue to support projects and events that benefit the masses the Jamaican people.
Our aim is not to "colonise" Jamaica but to always find areas of cooperation and mutual benefit that will improve the lives of both our people.