Jamaica is the largest English-speaking country in the Caribbean, with a population of nearly 2.8 million. Jamaica benefits from DFID’s regional programmes for the Caribbean, and - because of its size and the particular challenges it faces - it also receives direct support to promote economic growth and reduce crime. In total, DFID has allocated £75 million for the Caribbean from 2011 until 2015. This includes direct support for Jamaica, as well as programmes that benefit the whole region. Jamaica is very heavily indebted. Since 1998, DFID has provided over £66 million in debt relief to Jamaica, as well as over £1 million of training and other support to improve debt management by the Government of Jamaica. This meant that Jamaica paid considerably less in interest payments last year. The UK also contributes to multilateral organisations that carry out a wide range of projects and programmes in the Caribbean. In 2010, UK contributions that benefited Jamaica amounted to £2,614,000. With few opportunities, and unemployment in these communities as high as 38%, many young men feel that joining a gang and entering a life of crime is the only option. Through our £7.5 million contribution to the Citizen Security and Justice Programme, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, we are helping to transform 50 of Jamaica’s most violent criminally-controlled communities into normal neighbourhoods. Jamaica’s inner cities are amongst the most violent in the world - with many communities controlled by criminals rather than the state. Everyday services, like reliable water supplies, rubbish collection and sanitation are not regularly provided, so people have no choice but to rely on criminal gangs to provide their basic services. Over the next four years, 142,000 people will gain a reliable water supply and have their rubbish collected by the state, instead of depending on local gang leaders. We will help provide training and legitimate employment opportunities for at least 13,000 people. In Jamaica, many police officers have been involved in violent or organised crime. This has resulted in a vicious cycle of worsening crime, and people are reluctant to co-operate with the police. We recently completed a £3.7 million programme of support to the Jamaica Constabulary Force that has helped to change the culture of the police force. Police officers know that there is zero tolerance of corruption from now on – their careers depend on it. Since 2008, around 300 officers have been arrested for corruption, and a further 250 have been dismissed. Over time, this will mean a safer Jamaica. A new £7.5 million programme to improve police efficiency and accountability started in March 2012. Jamaica will also benefit from our regional programmes to help the Caribbean prepare for and reduce the risk from climate change and disasters. Most people in the Caribbean live close to the coast, vulnerable to storms, flooding and rising sea levels. DFID is helping people to be better prepared and equipped to withstand these threats. UK aid will provide training at community level by the Red Cross in Jamaica, as well as practical measures such as safer buildings, improved water management and early warning systems. We are also developing affordable insurance for small businesses and farmers, to protect their assets and livelihoods when disaster strikes. Being prepared is critical to reducing damage from disasters. We are helping Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean plan ahead for possible disasters and integrate risk reduction into their policy and investment decisions, for example through national climate change risk atlases. DFID has also supported studies to assess the possible economic impact of climate change on the agricultural, health and tourism in Jamaica. Coastal environments are at particular risk from climate change, and we are supporting work at ten of Jamaica’s marine-protected areas to protect and improve fish stocks and coral reefs. This work should provide new employment opportunities for about 3,000 local people and introduce new systems for government, fisherfolk and the local community to jointly manage marine sanctuaries. The UK is also a major contributor to the global Pilot Programme on Climate Change which has allocated around £40 million to develop climate resilience programmes for Jamaica and five other Caribbean countries. In line with its aim of reducing poverty, DFID is also contributing from its regional budget to three major programmes designed to create jobs and increase exports across the Caribbean: £10 million for the COMPETE Caribbean scheme, delivered jointly with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency, which will reduce red tape, streamline regulation, and help local firms break into new markets £10 million for CARTFund, a special fund to help Caribbean countries and their own regional integration initiative, CSME (the CARICOM Single Market and Economy) take advantage of a trade deal with the European Union. CARTFund helps in testing for product standards and provides support to the tourism, speciality foods and accounting sectors £4 million contribution to CARTAC, the IMF regional technical assistance mission. This provides advice and training for all English-speaking countries in macroeconomic management, monetary and taxation policy, statistics and debt management. Through CARTFund, we are helping the Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries to increase exports in the main service sectors such as health, education, entertainment, communications technology, finance and insurance, and accounting and auditing. This includes assistance in implementing a marketing strategy for exploiting export opportunities in these sectors. We are also helping the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica gain greater market access for Jamaican goods and services under CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), as well as helping member firms to take advantage of export opportunities with the European Union. COMPETE is improving the effectiveness of Jamaican investment attraction programmes by implementing reforms that simplify business processes. It is also stimulating community economic development in Kingston, by identifying the main bottlenecks hampering local development and creating an action plan to address them.
Disclaimer: Country borders do not necessarily reflect the UK Government's official position.