By NAN STAFF WRITER
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C. Mar. 31, 2022: The U.S. has reportedly pledged a 30 million USD investment in Jamaica following Wednesday’s meeting between the country’s first Caribbean American vice president, Kamala Harris, and the prime minister of her father’s homeland, Andrew Holness.
While the White House last night had not updated its statements on the meeting and Harris’ twitter made no mention of it either, Jamaica radio station, nationwideradiojm.com, reported that Harris announced a US $20 million to boost commerce between the two nations and a further US $10 million to be invested in boosting human capital and violence reduction for at risk youth.
Holness, in a series of posts on his Twitter account said of the meeting: “Our discussions were very productive as we affirmed our shared commitment to increase cooperation for the mutual benefit of Jamaica and the United States.”
According to the prime minister, the areas of cooperation discussed with Harris include violence prevention through intelligence and information sharing; investment in violence-reduction programs targeting at-risk youth; human capacity development, particularly in relation to cyber security and digital technology; energy; and infrastructure.
Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s prime minister, speaks during a meeting with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, right, in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Holness has said his country is on track to launch its own e-currency this year, as the island joins the ranks of those embracing digital fiat. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images
“I was deeply encouraged by the feedback from VP Harris who committed funding to several areas:
1. Expansion of commerce and trade
2. Support for our health sector and our COVID-19 recovery efforts
3. Regional energy security
4. Violence-reduction program targeting at-risk youth.”
US Vice President Kamala Harris and Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness hold a joint press conference following a bilateral meeting in the Vice Presidents Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, DC, on March 30, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
By contrast, Harris’ Twitter feed included other engagements Wednesday but made no mention of the meeting with Holness.
Prime Minister Holness is only the second Caribbean leader to meet with Harris in Washington since her election to the post. Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Mottley was the first.
Holness was also the first Jamaican leader to visit the White House since a 1995 working visit by former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson.
Harris’ father Donald Harris was born in the Caribbean nation, and Harris has said her family has “immense pride” in their Jamaican heritage.
Last January 17th, Holness was part of a group of Caribbean artistes and leaders who joined Invest Caribbean’s Felicia J. Persaud, in celebrating Harris’ ascent to the post of US vice president as the first Caribbean American. At the time, Persaud urged Harris to make the Caribbean a priority, unlike other administrations.