I have been paying attention to China long before the advent of COVID-19. Over the last 20 years China’s rise has been rapid and as a result of them making huge trade and investment deals with countries in Latin America and Africa, China has risen to become a Superpower. With its newfound power comes responsibility, but the question is, can China be trusted?
So, Jamaica, have you asked yourself if you can trust China? At the same time, have you questioned China’s motives for being in Jamaica? “Jamaica land we love” is the national anthem of Jamaica, a country with a population of 2.9 million people. The national motto of Jamaica is “Out of Many, One People” and Jamaicans the world over take pride in both aforementioned descriptions of Jamaica. The question in my mind is, for how long will those phrases be relevant?
Jamaica was originally inhabited by the Arawaks until it was ”discovered” by Christopher Columbus and over time has shifted from Spanish rule to the British who brought African slave labour to the island. The slaves were emancipated in 1838. The British colonial masters ruled until Jamaican Independence in 1962 when the island freed itself from British rule to become a free nation.
As much as Jamaicans love their “likkle but talawa” country, it seems that their leaders are bent on giving away sovereignty to a future colonial master — the Chinese. I have my reasons for saying this and if you haven’t noticed the substantial investment China is making in Jamaica, something is wrong.
In July 2016 bauxite-alumina company Alpart Jamaica was sold to Chinese company Jiuquan Iron & Steel (Group) Co Ltd (JISCO) for $299 million.
The Government of Jamaica has also used Chinese concessional loans to upgrade the road network on the island with loan funding coming from China’s Exim Bank. The south-eastern and south-western parts of the country being the beneficiaries of the new road construction.
Also, in 2013, the Chinese financed and started construction of the US$730m North-South Highway which connects Kingston to Ocho Rios. China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which completed the project in 2016, was given a 50-year concession to own and operate the road. As part of the agreement with the Jamaican Government, the Chinese were also given 1,200 acres of land alongside the North-South Highway
In 2019 it was reported in the Jamaica Gleaner, “The size of the Chinese investments in Jamaica is said to be around US$3 billion and growing, leading many persons to wonder what is the attraction.” (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/business/20191220/ease-doing-business-fuels-chinese-investments-ja)
Indeed, the question to be raised is what is China planning with Jamaica and why is the Jamaican Government borrowing so much money from China? These are not grants that China is giving Jamaica, the money must be paid back. I don’t see enough volume of cars on the road to generate the tolls to pay off these road loans.
In 2020 it was reported by French company CMA CGM that contrary to recent reports, it still has control over the Kingston Freeport with the Chinese holding 49%. People of Jamaica, have you noticed that previous and current Jamaican Administrations have sold out your birthright and the country holding a huge amount of the debt is China?
What will happen if Jamaica cannot service these debts and China wants to collect? They will lay claim to your land and natural resources. It is quite possible if there is a future turn of events, after Jamaica’s long struggle of freeing itself from Spanish and British rule, you may soon become foreigners in your own country, with restrictions on where you can travel and live courtesy of a new colonial master. Indeed, you could very well become a colony of China.
So, with that said, you might have to consider sending your children to learn Chinese, because they may need to speak it in Jamaica in the near future. If this should happen, plan on switching out your national dish from Ackee & Saltfish to the Chinese national dish of Peking Duck.
It seems to me that the Chinese are creating outposts around the world and if they are smart, they will bring in military resources under the guise of security to protect their investments. However, these military resources and personnel could be used against the locals in Jamaica if they decide to act against this Chinese “takeover” of Jamaica.
Have you noticed the huge Chinese presence and investments in Africa? Well, make no mistake they are not there to see the lions and elephants; they want access to Africa’s resources and oil for their population of 1.4 billion people.
When I think about it, China is a long way from the Americas, but if China wanted to have a strategic presence in the region, just an hour’s flight from the US mainland, it wouldn’t take much. If they owned land in Jamaica it would not take much to build a military base where their planes could reach America very quickly in a conflict.
Jamaica does not have the natural resources that Africa has, so that’s not what China is after in Jamaica. However, China is lending Jamaica a lot of money to upgrade the isiand’s infrastructure utilizing Chinese expertise, for a self-serving reason…and you can bet they are hoping Jamaica cannot pay them back.