Jamaica is on the verge of receiving up to US$30 million dollar in investments following a high profiled meeting between Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and US Vice-President Kamala Harris.

It was the first of a series of meetings in the US capital; Washington DC. In the meeting the Vice-President announced a US$20 million investment in Jamaica to boost commerce and US$10 million towards investment in human capital and a violence reduction programme for at-risk youth.


Ms Harris, whose father Donald was born in Jamaica and who has said her family has immense pride in their Jamaican heritage, also noted that further investments in energy security, climate security and resilience to extreme weather conditions, will also be made. Issue, including health and Covid-19 recovery and the flow of illegal guns into the country from the US, were high on the agenda during meetings this week.

“The visit reaffirms the long and strong relationship - culturally, people-to-people, trade and investment - between Jamaica and the United States,” said PM Holness during his five-day official visit to the US. “We also want to talk about specifically matters, such as security, as there are issues to tackle within the region which we want to have a face-to-face, and direct discussions, on these issues.

“The particular influx of weapons into Jamaica and how we can work together to deal with that, and on the other side, the issues of lottery scamming and so forth which affects the United States heavily, are important to tackle. We also have to talk about energy and how we can partner to ensure that we have more renewables in our energy portfolio, and we want to talk about, of course and more investments.”

Holness is the first Jamaican head of government to visit the White House since a 1995 working visit by then Prime Minister PJ Patterson. Former US President Barack Obama was the last American leader to hold face-to-face talks with a Jamaican prime minister when he visited the island in 2015.

The prime minister, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith and a five-member delegation was met on arrival in Washington, DC by Jamaica's Ambassador to the US Audrey Marks, the deputy chief of mission at the Jamaican embassy in Washington, DC Nicolette Williams, and other embassy officials. He was also scheduled to meet with senior officials of the US Administration including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as well as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

PM Holness was also set to have high-level congressional meetings with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and will also meet with chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Robert Menendez and members of that committee. Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gregory Meeks, was also due to host a meeting for Holness with members of his committee.

The prime minister's five-day working visit will also include meetings with the chair of the House Finance Committee Congresswoman Maxine Waters and chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

He will also address members of the Washington, DC press at the National Press Club, as well as join members of the Diaspora as the Special Guest on the ‘Let's Connect with Ambassador Marks’ online town hall meeting – where he is expected to highlight the island's development at 60 years of Independence and outline the efforts being made to facilitate expanded diaspora participation in the overall economy. The PM will also meet members of the embassy staff as well as members of the Jamaica Central Labour organisation which handles the US/Jamaica Farm Worker Programme.

The prime minister is expected to return to Jamaica on Sunday.