KINGSTON –– The English speaking Caribbean is set to benefit from £300 million in grant funding to support infrastructure development.
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement in a joint sitting of Jamaica’s Parliament yesterday 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 kilometres of roads to link up vital markets. Bridges to unite remote communities. New energy projects to power growth and vital defences to protect coastal communities. Let me be clear £300 million is not soft loans, 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 in financing.
“Today I can also announce £30 million for new programmes to help attract investments and improve governance and £30 million to help make your hospital more resilient to natural disasters. We need to make sure that if a hurricane strikes, crucial health centres 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 hopes the Caribbean will make use of US$9 billion in climate adaptation financing Britain 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.”