Prime Minister Andrew Holness used the occasion of a handing over ceremony of a school in his constituency, Wednesday, October 31, to respond to concerns about the level of borrowing from China by the Jamaican Government.
Just this week, a leading member of the finance community Claudette Crooks raised concerns about the pace of Chinese investment and whether Jamaica would be able to honor its payment obligation or risk losing prime national assets. The issue of Chinese investment is regularly raised, sometimes in public media.
But government spokespersons have said there should be no fear as the Chinese investment was welcome but not large in relation to other agencies and governments.
At a ceremony attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, Tian Qi, for the handing over of a Chinese built school in his Constituency in West Central St Andrew and also for one built in East St Thomas, where the Fenton Ferguson is MP, Mr. Holness said there was no need for “scaremongering.”
Mr. Holness pointed to the fact that administrations led by the PNP and by the JLP had both engaged China and that this was unavoidable as China was a leading economy.
“What we must ensure is if we borrow, we borrow smartly, seek the best rates and make a commitment – as we have made with other countries and multilateral institutions – that we must repay our loans,” he said.
The Prime Minister said: “So if we borrow, as countries do and countries must, we don’t borrow more than we can repay. We are living within our means.”
“Jamaica is a country of institutions and our leaders’ value of sovereignty and we will never do anything to compromise that,” he said, adding that he was looking to put some “sanity” in the national conversation.