The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has deepened its commitment to help Jamaica contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with an additional support package valuing £1.35 million ($230 (15h 21m) (15h 21m) million).
The new funding will support the Government of Jamaica’s work to secure the country’s borders against health risks; prevent violence against women, children, and gang recruitment driven by coronavirus pressures; protect the island’s prisons against coronavirus, and strengthen pandemic surveillance to guide policy responses.
Funds will also be provided to support the Caribbean Policy Research Institute to collect evidence and inform policy-making discussions on the novel coronavirus crisis and measures taken in response.
Micro projects totaling a further $11 (0h 44m) (0h 44m) million will go towards small businesses and tap into the expertise of Jamaican Chevening scholars as they explore mitigating the effects of COVID-19.
“We are all working our way to the new normal. Jamaica has handled the first wave of [its] coronavirus outbreak well. Our support for the country will focus on health, economic and social impacts in the interest of all Jamaicans,” said British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad.
The new support package is in addition to the more than $30 (2h 0m) (2h 0m) million recently repurposed to procure personal protective equipment, among other items for the correctional services and other specialized law enforcement bodies.
The UK and Jamaica have joined forces at the global level in the fight against the novel coronavirus, with both countries playing lead roles in a new global call to action, supporting the flow of remittances or international cash transfers, which are essential to many Jamaicans.
Additionally, Jamaica is a priority country for the new UK Trade Partnerships program in the Caribbean, which sees support being provided to business advice organizations and to small- and medium-sized enterprises in the specialty foods and creative services sectors to boost their exports to the UK and other markets. The program will also build awareness among businesses in Jamaica of the benefits of the new Economic Partnership Agreement between the UK and Caribbean Forum (Cariforum) states, which comes into effect at the end of this year.
The new package is also being provided on top of significant funding made available to Jamaica by the British Government through regional and global organizations. The UK has already committed £764 million to support global efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, find a vaccine, and save lives around the world. It has also given £3 million to the Pan-American Health Organisation to enable regional member countries, including Jamaica, access to essential medical supplies.
The UK spends, on average, £10 million a year to support Jamaica in addressing its most pressing developmental challenges, including disasters, climate change, economic growth, and organized crime.
In addition to the latest support package, the UK has partnered with Jamaica to not only contain coronavirus but build back better as well. These include the UK-Jamaica Strategic Health Border Security Partnership, which helps to support efforts by Jamaica’s Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency and Port Authority of Jamaica to facilitate the movement of people and goods, whilst protecting public health and the UK-Jamaica COVID19 Violence Prevention Partnership which is being done through the Ministry of National Security.
The UK has partnered with Jamaica on the Systemic Analysis for Emergency Response, which supports the development of an analytical system for mapping and modeling of risks to guide interventions in relation to the novel coronavirus and other emergencies. This is a partnership between the Government, the Violence Prevention Alliance, and Mona GeoInformatics Institute.