Kamala Harris pledges US$30m in funding for Jamaica
United States Vice-President Kamala Harris has announced that her government will be investing US$20 million in the Jamaican economy to strengthen economic growth and expand commerce.
Harris made the announcement during a meeting on Wednesday with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is on a five-day visit to Washington, DC.
The US$20-million investment in the economy is one of three initiatives that the vice president highlighted.
She also said that in the area of crime prevention, the United States would be investing US$10 million targeted at at-risk youth.
On COVID-19 recovery, Harris said that the Biden administration would work with Jamaica in this area and will provide assistance on top of the $12 million already provided.
On climate change, the vice president said the United States will partner with Jamaica on what to do in developing new sources, develop human capital and developing the economy.
Speaking about the strong bond between Jamaica and the United States, Harris said that the relationship between both countries is a very strong one.
“We take very seriously our membership in the Western Hemisphere and we are acutely aware of the interconnection and interdependence between the United States and Jamaica,” she said.
In welcoming Holness, the vice president pointed out that a Jamaican prime minister had not visited the White House since 1995.
“I want to warmly welcome you. President Biden and I are very honoured and very excited at your presence here today to reaffirm the strength of the relationship between the United States and Jamaica and the Caribbean as a whole, but also on this the 60th anniversary, not only of Jamaica’s Independence, but also of diplomatic relationship between Jamaica and the United States. As I told the prime minister privately, and I say it again publicly, this is a very important relationship to the United States,” she said.
On a point of personal privilege, the vice president recalled that she grew up in St Ann and that one side of her family is Jamaican.
“I know that I share that history with millions of Americans who have their roots through generations in Jamaica,” said Harris.
She said that in addition to those people-to-people contacts between the United States and Jamaica, there is a long-standing strategic and diplomatic relationship and a deep historic partnership.
DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH
“It is in furtherance of that I am proud today to announce three specific initiatives that the prime minister and I discussed that are in furtherance of strength and importance of that relationship,” she said.
The vice president continued: “We talked extensively about the prime minister’s approach and the need of Jamaica to continue to invest in its prosperity, its economic health and strength. To that end, the United States will be investing US$20 million to assist in the strengthening and expansion of Jamaica’s commerce in a way that we fully intend will have an impact in strengthening the economy of Jamaica and drive economic growth.”
She said that the United States recognises that two of the issues it shared with Jamaica are security in the regions well as crime prevention.
“One area of importance is the focus on youth and the human capital of Jamaica. To that end, we are providing $10 million to target at-risk youth in Jamaica through a number of initiatives that we believe will have an impact not (only) on crime prevention, but what we intend as well is to strengthen human capital among young people in Jamaica,” she said.
The prime minister continued his round of meetings Thursday and will hold a town hall meeting on Friday evening with members of the diaspora.