The Jamaica Gleaner reports that the Jamaican government is looking for international donors to provide funding to be able to care for the Haitian refugees it expects to receive, following the recent earthquake. According to Arthur Hall, the United States has already indicated a willingness to help Jamaica fund its Haitian relief efforts.
When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a recent visit to Kingston, sources say, she “might have promised Prime Minister Bruce Golding additional financial assistance if Jamaica keeps any Haitians who arrive by boat.” US authorities preparing for the expected flood of Haitians have warned that, with few exceptions, migrants would not be allowed into the country and that “The plan is to interdict them at sea and repatriate them.”
Jamaican authorities, on the other hand, have declared that any Haitian who gets to island’s shores will not be turned away. Prime Minister Golding said that “While they may not fall within the UN Convention definition of refugees, they would constitute a humanitarian cause to which we are obliged to respond appropriately.” Information Minister Daryl Vaz confirmed that, despite financial constraints, Jamaica would keep the Haitian visitors until they can return to Haiti.
Digicel has already given US$300,000 to the Jamaican government to repair the building and properties that will house Haitian migrants. There is no decision yet on where they will be housed, but some possible facilities would be available at Winifred Beach in East Portland or in Montpelier in St. James.
For full article, see http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20100121/lead/lead1.html
Photo of PM Golding from http://www.unmultimedia.org/s/photo/detail/198/0198134.html