A report by Mark Cummings for the Jamaica Observer.
Amidst growing concerns over the hardships being created by the onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Chinese community in Jamaica says it has donated food and personal items valued at several million dollars to State agencies and needy communities.
“This is our home, too, and especially in this time of crisis, in which people are losing their jobs and there is an increasing need for food and personal items, we have come together as the leaders of commerce, to support our Jamaican brothers and sisters,” prominent Montego Bay-based Chinese merchant Yangsen Li told the Jamaica Observer.
“We share the concern of the heavy toll that the onset of the coronavirus is having on everyone, and feel compelled to play our part to minimise the negative impact that it is having. Our contribution is also our way of expressing our appreciation to Jamaica for opening itself to us as home,” Yangsen said.
He said the assistance is being provided to a wide cross section of the society, including the police, fire brigade, nurses at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, and a number of schools, adding that care packages have already been supplied to several needy communities.
The donation included food, a large quantity of masks, hand sanitisers, tissues, gloves, hand towels, and other items.
According to the merchant, the donations to schools were made to ensure that the institutions’ environment is safe when they reopen.
“We are hoping to continue this effort for as long as we can, to ease the difficulty our fellow Jamaicans will face as we fight the spread of the virus in Jamaica,” Yangsen stressed, adding that “there is a large consignment of goods on order from China, which should be delivered by air courier within the next seven to 10 days.
“Members of the Chinese community islandwide are meeting to expand the assistance for the entire island, where possible, and are collaborating with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica to ensure their efforts are coordinated into the national effort to fight the virus,” he added.
“Our contribution is also our way of expressing our appreciation to Jamaica for opening itself to us as home, and will continue to be good corporate citizens in giving our support whenever we can,” he continued.
Earlier this month, members of the Chinese business community in Montego Bay, closed their stores in the wake of heightened tension over COVID-19.
Several businesses have since been reopened, but according to Yangsen, “they are operating under strict Government guidelines pertaining to the coronavirus”.
According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, up to Wednesday morning, there were 25 confirmed cases of the coronavirus locally, with one death.