The Governments of Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a framework document signalling their intention to collaborate on a J$2.9 billion violence-prevention project.
The document was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the UK, the Rt James Cleverly, during a press conference following a strategic dialogue at the Ministry’s downtown Kingston offices on May 19.
Expressing gratitude and appreciation to the Government and people of the UK, Minister Johnson Smith said the initiative, to be funded by the UK over six years, will be far-reaching domestically and internationally.
“This partnership will enhance our whole-of-government approach to violence reduction and prevention, while engaging multiple stakeholders in our collective efforts to combat high levels of criminality,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Cleverly said the violence-prevention partnership is yet another demonstration of the UK’s support of Jamaica’s goals and aspirations and Vision 2030.
“Our focus will be on a public-health approach looking upstream, addressing the drivers of violent behaviour and focused very much on prevention. I have been inspired by Jamaica’s plan to create a secure, cohesive and just society, and the UK Government will provide £15 million over the next six years to help Jamaica reduce violence and the impact that it has on society on a whole and on this wonderful country’s economy more generally,” he said.
Minister Johnson Smith said the UK-Jamaica partnership encompasses a wide range of areas and involves significant funding.
“In 2022 alone, we assessed that grant funding amounted to £81.3 million. These funds were mainly allocated to agricultural development projects, particularly in the southern area of the island, and in addition to ongoing support we discussed the possibility of expanding our cooperation beyond traditional areas, exploring investment opportunities in Jamaica’s tourism, mining and logistics sectors,” she said.
The Minister said the strategic dialogue covered a wide range of topics, including security, climate change, trade and investment, health, the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the WindRush and other diaspora and consular affairs, Haiti and the war in Ukraine.
In the meantime, Cleverly said the UK is deeply proud of its relationship with Jamaica and of the contribution that the Jamaican diaspora has made and continues to make in the UK.
“I intend to build on that spirit of friendship, collaboration and goodwill,” he indicated.