Remittances helped cushion impact of COVID-19 - Clarke
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, addresses the official Adopt-A-Clinic ceremony for the Sunrise Health Centre on Red Hills Road, St Andrew on Friday February 24. Seated at left is Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton. Photo: JIS

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Jamaicans across the diaspora are being lauded for their invaluable contribution in helping the local economy stay afloat through remittances during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said that remittances jumped approximately US$500 million to US$2.9 billion in 2020, which helped to cushion the loss of US$2.5 billion in foreign exchange earnings from tourism.

Remittance inflows further increased in 2021, exceeding US$3.3 billion.

“A lot of people wondered how Jamaica could have survived... after the airports shut down in March 2020 and virtually no tourists came for months,” he said, noting that it was the increase in remittances among other measures implemented by the Government, that enabled the country to successfully navigate the crisis.

The minister was speaking at an Adopt-A-Clinic ceremony for the Sunrise Health Centre on Red Hills Road, St Andrew on Friday.

The facility, located in the minister’s St Andrew North Western constituency, is being supported by Jamaican-born Patrick Lai Fatt, who owns and operates the USAFE Tech Security firm, which is based in the United Kingdom (UK).

“Today, we see the value of the Jamaican Diaspora at work, with the Sunrise Health Clinic being financially adopted by this generous and patriotic Jamaican,” Dr Clarke noted.

He said that the support aligns with the Government’s focus on health care as a vital part of human capital development and wealth creation.

Dr Clarke said that the Sunrise Health Centre “plays a crucial role in making sure that the primary health of the residents is prioritised. I am very thankful for the financial assistance that is coming.”

Sunrise Health Centre is the 42nd facility to be adopted under the Ministry of Health and Wellness' Adopt-a-Clinic Programme.

The initiative aims to engage the private sector and the diaspora in improving the primary health care system by supporting some 100 health centres across the island.

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