Fri | Nov 15, 2019

Ja gets $3b from China

Published:Thursday | August 1, 2019 | 12:21 AMJason Cross/ Gleaner Writer
Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith shakes hands with Tian Qi, ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, after the signing of the Jamaica-China Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade’s Dominica Drive offices in New Kingston on Tuesday.

Jamaica made another step towards tightening its relationship with the People’s Republic of China when it accepted a grant donation of over J$3.5 billion to undertake a number of local projects.

The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offices in New Kingston and the signatories were Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, and China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Tian Qi.

While wishing Jamaica a happy 57th anniversary as an independent nation, ahead of the official August 6 date, Qi indicated that China has plans to continue working with Jamaica to enable both nations to grow from strength to strength.

“China and Jamaica are enjoying a very good friendship and cooperation. China is probably the largest donor to Jamaica. It is a gift from the Chinese government and people to the Jamaican government and people, and we hope that this donation can play an effective role in the promotion and progress of Jamaica’s social and economic development. I think it is most important to improve people’s lives. You can already witness the construction of the Western Children’s Hospital. I think the hospital will be good for the health of the children, not only from Jamaica, but the whole Caribbean. There will be 200 beds in that hospital.”

Border security

Johnson Smith, expressed gratitude to the Chinese government, explaining that the grant, among a number of things, will help Jamaica increase its capabilities in securing its borders.

“CT scanners, to be acquired under this grant, will undoubtedly enhance Jamaica’s border security and airport operations. At the same time, we also welcome the support that this grant will contribute to the completion of the ministry’s office building project, bringing it to a state of readiness for the ministry’s improved operational capacity in that new location.

“I am confident that the Jamaica-China relationship will continue to grow and attain increased levels of cooperation, enhanced trade and investment, and greater people-to-people connections, and continue to contribute significantly to the Government’s pursuit of security and prosperity for the people of Jamaica.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com