April 13, 2022
With COVID-19 recovery a top priority for the Jamaican government, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has urged the United States to invest more in Jamaica.
Holness made the plea during a recent working visit to the United States. His delegation included Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks, and Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke.
During a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State Antony J Blinken, Holness told him that the relationship between Jamaica and the US has always been mutually beneficial, given the high level of migration from the island to the United States.
“Jamaica has been a net exporter of talent to the United States, and I think our longstanding people-to-people relationship with migration back and forth would have been mutually beneficial. But Jamaica is in a state now where its growth potential could be limited by human resource development,” Holness said.
The prime minister said the island is now at a point where “we can pivot to other areas of our economic and social development.” He said the US investing more in Jamaica could boost both economies.
“I think for small island developing states like Jamaica, a small shift in [US] economic policy could result in gains that are significant for our economy, but for your economy as well,” he told Blinken.
“Jamaica considers itself to be a friendly near-shore destination for investment and production capacity, and I think that it would be in the US interest to look at countries like Jamaica to position strategic production capacity which would be beneficial for the stability of production chains and the supply of goods and services,” added Holness.
Prior to meeting with Blinken, Prime Minister Holness has met with US Vice President Kamala Harris, who announced a US$20-million investment in Jamaica to boost commerce and US$10 million towards investment in human capital and a violence-reduction programme for at-risk youth.
Harris had also announced investments in energy, security, climate security and resilience to extreme weather conditions, plus assistance towards health and COVID-19 recovery. Holness noted “VP Harris expressed agreement for the establishment of a working group between Jamaica and the US to discuss issues unique to Jamaica and to continue dialogue. I thank the VP for prioritizing this meeting with Jamaica and I welcome her announcements to provide greater support through investments.”
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