Vice-President Kamala Harris of the United States has declared that her administration will invest $20 million in the Jamaican economy to boost economic growth and expand trade. Harris made the announcement during a meeting with Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday in Washington, DC. Holness is on a five-day visit to the United States. The vice president mentioned three ideas, one of which is a $20 million investment in the economy. She also stated that the United States would contribute $10 million to crime prevention programs aimed at at-risk adolescents.
In regards to COVID-19 recovery, Harris stated that the Biden administration will collaborate with Jamaica in this area and would provide further funding in addition to the $12 million already provided. On climate change, the vice president stated that the US will work with Jamaica to explore new sources of energy, build human capital, and grow the economy. When asked about the strong link that exists between Jamaica and the United States, Harris stated that the two countries have a very solid relationship. “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.
The vice president noted that a Jamaican prime minister had not visited the White House since 1995 when he welcomed Holness. “I want to warmly welcome you. President Biden and I are very honored 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 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.
The vice president mentioned that she grew up in St Ann and that one side of her family is Jamaican, which she considers a personal advantage. “I know I share that history with millions of Americans who had ancestors who came from Jamaica,” Harris added. She added that the US and Jamaica have a long-standing strategic and diplomatic engagement as well as a deep historic alliance in addition to those people-to-people contacts.
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“It is in furtherance 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. “We discussed extensively the prime minister’s strategy and the necessity for Jamaica to continue to invest in its prosperity, economic health, and strength,” the vice president stated. To that end, the United States will contribute $20 million to help develop and expand Jamaica’s commerce in a way that we fully believe to have a positive influence on the country’s economy and generate economic growth.”
She stated that the US recognizes that two of the concerns it has in common with Jamaica are regional security and crime prevention. “One area of relevance is Jamaica’s concentration on youth and human capital. To that end, we’re investing $10 million in a variety of initiatives aimed at at-risk kids in Jamaica, which we believe will have a positive impact not only on crime prevention but also on strengthening human capital among the country’s youth,” she said.
The prime minister’s round of meetings resumed on Thursday, and he will hold a town hall gathering with members of the diaspora on Friday evening.