The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is advising that it is in discussions with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Embassy of the United States of America to identify any issues related to shipments of critical COVID 19 related material which may have an impact on the Jamaican Government’s response to the outbreak.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith today said, “We recognize that some of the delays may be related to longer than usual commercial processing requirements in the context of global demands of these products. However the United States of America continues to be a valued partner and an important part of Jamaica’s COVID19 response support, having provided Jamaica’s first test kits through the CDC since our very first case. It has funded a further 2500 test kits which are expected to be received from the IAEA this week and is also providing US$750,000.00 through USAID for the provision of critical response items including ICU Beds.”
The Minister further advised, “I have been in discussions with Ambassador Tapia, and have also reached out to the US State Department through our Ambassador, Audrey Marks. We have received their respective assurances that they will seek exemptions for any shipments of COVID-related equipment ordered in support of the government’s response. Their recent assistance with releasing a philanthropic shipment of ventilators that encountered difficulties in Miami gives us confidence that Jamaica has and will continue to receive support in expediting shipments, as needed.”
Minister Johnson Smith advised that while there is public knowledge of an Executive Order governing critical equipment generally, no specific Ministry of Health incident relating to orders in the US had previously come to the attention of the Ministry, or the US Embassy. She said, “With so many moving parts there may be occasional communication gaps, but we are working assiduously to ensure delivery of critical items and our international partners, including the United States, have assured us of their readiness to continue supporting Jamaica through this crisis.”