Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
KATE SMITH, director of the Americas Department at the British Foreign Commonwealth Office, says despite the tough economic conditions facing the United Kingdom at this time, her country will not withdraw its support to developing states like Jamaica.
"We are absolutely clear that this Government is committed to maintaining its spending on overseas aid and fulfilling its commitment, and that won't change," Smith told The Gleaner in an interview.
The UK senior technocrat, however, pointed out that her country's traditional development aid to India, another Commonwealth state like Jamaica, would come to an end in the next few years.
The Government of Britain says it is seeking to forge a modern partnership with countries in the region, including Jamaica.
"Economic conditions in Britain at this time are not good, (but) we want to work to build an environment both in the UK and in the countries which we have partnerships, where business, trade and investment can prosper. That's a key part of the modern partnership we are seeking to forge," Smith stressed.
On the question of the flow of illegal drugs into the UK from Jamaica, Smith divulged that the authorities in Britain have had considerable successes in seizures.
"One important indicator is the price of drugs on the streets in the UK and that has gone up and that means it is harder for traffickers to get the drugs into the United Kingdom. That is a good sign pointed out to me by law enforcement officials," she told The Gleaner.
However, she said there were many other routes outside of Jamaica that traffickers use to get drugs into the UK.
"We are very conscious that Jamaica is a transit for drugs coming from Central and South America," Smith said.