Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the Government is open to investment for the development of Jamaica and called for caution in criticising the Chinese for their level of outlay in the country.
“Before anyone criticises they should show their level of investments in Jamaica,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She commended the Jamaican business people, large or small, for their continued investments in their homeland, but noted that “where we are today we need some big investments to pull the economy from where we are”.
“So all who want to criticise…. come if you want to invest and come with your money because the Government does not have the money,” the Prime Minister said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 10, where she gave a report on her official visit to the People’s Republic of China from August 20 to 25.
During her presentation, Mrs Simpson Miller highlighted some of the specific agreements arrived at during the visit.
These, she said, include the signing of an agreement for the construction of the Tower Hill Infant School in Kingston and the Morant Estate Infant School in St. Thomas.
She also mentioned the expansion of the Confucius Institute at the University of the West Indies, and increased Economic and Technical Agreement Grant for US$16 million to be used for development projects to be identified and mutually agreed between the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
In addition, there is a loan of US$300 million for the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) by the China Export-Import Bank, which has a total value of US$350 million.
Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the Government will contribute US$50 million in counterpart resources to this project.
She informed further that over the next three years, the Chinese Government will offer 40 scholarships per year to Jamaican students, specifically in the field of health.
“China warmly accepted the offer by Jamaica of 10 scholarships to Chinese athletes, administrators and coaches tenable at the G. C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport,” she said.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that in relation to all of the identified projects, stakeholder consultation will begin shortly to ensure that there is full understanding of the scale, scope, benefits and implications of what is contemplated, and that the interests of the people of Jamaica are protected at all stages of project and programme development.