Outgoing Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Laurie Peters, has lauded the Government for its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We have all been impressed with Jamaica, especially the early response to managing the pandemic and to ensure that there was balance, looking at not only saving lives but also livelihoods. I think it has been a delicate and difficult balance to maintain and Jamaica has been impressive on that front,” the High Commissioner told JIS News.
She also commended the country for its efforts to remind citizens of the importance of complying with the disaster risk management orders to control the spread of the virus.
The High Commissioner, who began her tour of duty in Jamaica in September 2017, said it is important for a country to identify its needs early.
“In early February, March, no one really knew what this (COVID-19) was going to turn into and I think it was important that Jamaica got something out there and down on paper for us as partners and donors to respond to,” she said.
She said that the health sector was provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
The High Commissioner also pledged the continued support of Canada to Jamaica’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the High Commissioner said Jamaica received $75 million to support the health and development sectors. Most recently, Canada made available an additional $482 million for Jamaica towards its Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility premiums. Another injection of funds was facilitated to create fiscal space to allow Jamaica to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
She noted that over the past 38 months, the High Commission has worked to solidify and to advance bilateral relations between Jamaica and Canada, adding that the unforeseen events, such as the pandemic, provided “unplanned opportunities that allow us to take a different path in our partnership”.
“I can say that our partnership is just as strong, if not, stronger than ever before, because we have had to come close together, especially at this time of the pandemic to really leverage our strengths,” she added.