Thu | Oct 29, 2020

Holness backs COVID Marshall Plan

Published:Wednesday | September 30, 2020 | 12:20 AM
Madrid Emergency Service health workers conduct rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 in the southern neighbourhood of Vallecas in Spain on Tuesday. Madrid has a rate of infection 2.5 times higher than the national average, which is already three times the Euro
Madrid Emergency Service health workers conduct rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 in the southern neighbourhood of Vallecas in Spain on Tuesday. Madrid has a rate of infection 2.5 times higher than the national average, which is already three times the European average, including the United Kingdom.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has backed calls by world leaders for a Marshall Plan to rekindle economic growth, particularly for small island developing states, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Tuesday at a virtual United Nations (UN) High Level Meeting, Holness charged that the pervasive reach of COVID-19 demanded an “extraordinary, inclusive and sustainable global management and recovery process”.

“The world needs a global plan as innovative, ambitious and impactful as the Marshall Plan was to Europe’s recovery after the devastation of World War II,” said Holness.

The Marshall Plan was an American initiative for foreign aid to Western Europe. It was passed in 1948.

The United States transferred over US$12 billion in economic recovery programmes to Western European economies after the end of World War II through the Marshall Plan.

Holness also urged countries to seize the opportunity to make the global recovery plan sustainable to climate and the environment, empowering and uplifting of the poor and vulnerable, and supportive of democratic and transparent governance.

The Jamaican leader remarked that he was grateful to the ministers of finance in Jamaica and Canada, and other contributors, for putting forward a rich slate of policy options to increase resource availability, address debt and liquidity concerns, and respond to the short-, medium-, and long-term needs of developing countries.

Holness and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are co-chairs of the UN Group of Friends of Sustainable Goals Financing, which is tasked with focusing its efforts on financing resilience building, sustainable development and environment programmes, as well as assisting developing countries respond to, and recover from, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world has seen more than one million COVID-19 deaths, with global cases topping 33.5 million.

With eight more deaths recorded on Tuesday, Jamaica has registered 101 fatalities, with a case count of 6,408.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com