US Southern Command supports Jamaica’s Ministry of Education
DURING A June 6 visit to Spot Valley High School in Montego Bay, US Army General Laura Richardson, Commander, US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), announced the donation of three state-of-the-art multifunction printers and three advanced-technology interactive whiteboards, valued at nearly J$2.4 million, to Jamaica’s Ministry of Education, the first of which were delivered during her visit to the school.
The equipment will support the school’s educational programme and the learning activities of more than 1,000 students. General Richardson was joined at the handover by Jamaica’s Chief of Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman; the US Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Amy Tachco, and Regional Director, Ministry of Education, Dr Michelle Pinnock. The donation is the latest in a series of SOUTHCOM-supported donations to the Jamaican Defence Force (JDF) and Jamaican Government, aimed at assisting the nation’s efforts to service communities, ensure disaster resilience, and address security challenges.
The handover is an extension of General Richardson’s participation in the Caribbean Nations Security Conference, being held in Montego Bay. The conference serves to strengthen partnerships between the United States, Caribbean governments, and regional and multilateral institutions to address pressing issues, including cybersecurity, climate change, and transnational crime.
The following are additional highlights of recent and upcoming donations (totaling J$1.6 billion) supported by the US Southern Command.
United States Southern Command Humanitarian Assistance Programme (J$766 million)
Working closely with its partners in the JDF and in close collaboration with various ministries, SOUTHCOM has invested more than $5 million in funding for 15 donation projects to support education, public health, and disaster preparedness over the past six years. The donations have included field hospitals, medical equipment, school supplies, disaster response equipment, disaster relief supplies, infrastructure improvements, and construction materials.
Security Assistance (J$738.5 million)
SOUTHCOM’s longstanding defense partnership with the JDF includes the following scheduled, command-funded security assistance to support the JDF’s operational, readiness, sustainment, and capacity-building goals:
• J$383 million ($2.5 million) to design and construct a boat maintenance facility that will support the JDF’s maritime security fleet maintenance and operational upkeep.
• J$229 million ($1.5 million) in spare parts and sensor upgrades for JDF Air Wing aircraft.
• J$64 million ($423,000) in communications equipment upgrades in support of JDF Coast Guard operations.
• J$52 million ($340,000) in cyber defence and network security training for personnel assigned to the JDF’s Military Cyber Corps.
• J$10.5 million ($69,000) in operational gear and equipment to the JDF.
Technical Assistance (J$107 million)
With funding provided by the US State Department, a SOUTHCOM-based technical assistance field team, staffed by skilled logisticians and engineers, has assisted JDF maritime security personnel with maintenance training and improvements to their fleet logistics and sustainment programmes. The team’s technical assistance helps partner nations with the upkeep of vital maritime patrol fleets needed to disrupt illicit trafficking, conduct search and rescue, support disaster response missions, and conduct other coastal security operations.