The English speaking Caribbean is set to benefit from 300 million pounds in grant funding to support infrastructure development.
British Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement in a joint sitting of Jamaica’s parliament this morning.
“I’m launching a new UK, Caribbean infrastructure partnership to build real tangible things that will make a difference for people across the Caribbean. Roads, bridges, ports, critical economic infrastructure that will set the foundations for growth and prosperity and in turn reduce poverty while helping the region to become more resilient to the risks of Climate Change. Just think about what this could deliver, hundreds of kilometer of roads to link up vital markets. Bridges to unite remote communities. New energy projects to power growth and vital defenses to protect coastal communities. Let me be clear £300 million is not soft loads, not tide aid. It is cash grants.”
Cameron says Caribbean leaders will decide how to spend the funds. He also announced an additional 60 million pounds in financing.
“Today I can also announce 30 million pounds for new programs to help attract investments and improve governance and 30 million pounds to help make your hospital more resilient to natural disasters. We need to make sure that if a hurricane strikes, crucial health centers can remain operational to treat the wounded and together this represents a quadrupling of Britain support. It will make us the largest donor to the region. It will create jobs and save lives and you can take it literally as a concrete statement of my commitment to the Caribbean.”
The British Prime Minister adds he hopes the Caribbean will make use of US 9 billion in climate adaptation financing that the UK will provide over the next five years.
“We hope this money can help unlock the global climate deal and giving the vulnerability of small island state that face the risk of devastation from climate change, a fair proportion should be sent, I hope will be spent right here supporting some of the UK’s oldest friends to prepare and provide for the future. When I met Caribbean leaders just a few days ago at the United Nations General Assembly. They made it clear to me directly, just how vital the climate deal is to them. So I pledge to work in partnership with them and other like minded states to secure a bold and ambitious deal in Paris later this year.”
Cameron also revealed that the UK will spend £25 million on building a prison in Jamaica so that foreign criminals in the UK can be sent home to serve sentences in the Caribbean.
More than 600 Jamaican nationals are in UK jails but cannot be deported because of Jamaica’s poor prison conditions.
Officials say the foreign aid-funded deal could save taxpayers £10m a year when transfers begin in 2020.