US President Barack Obama has warned of China’s influence in Jamaica and the Caribbean expressing concern when the Asian country is the only benefactor in partnerships.
He was responding to a question posed by Newton Harris from the University of Technology at a Youth Forum at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica last week.
Obama said although he welcomed investment by China to improve infrastructure, he warned of “strings that are really attached.”
“If China is making investments that are building up infrastructure, improving education or [are] helping the people, then we want that, that’s great,” he stated. “The only thing is you got to make sure you look at the strings that are really attached.”
He expressed concern about China being the only beneficiary in partnerships.
“If the investments are made and it’s solely to build a road, to extract raw materials that are going to immediately be imported to China, and if China’s workers are shipped in to do the work, and if you don’t know exactly what the deal was with the government – it may not be serving the long-term interest of the country,” Obama remarked.
Obama said a careful approach must be taken when inviting investments from other countries, even the US.
“I would say the same thing for the United States, if we come in and we are giving a $100 million for such and such but if you evaluate the actual benefits and you find that they are disproportionate … and it won’t provide ways that the country will develop, you’ve got to get a better deal,” he said.
Dominica and China established diplomatic relations in March 2004.
Since then China has constructed Windsor Park Stadium, the Roseau to Portsmouth Road Rehabilitation Project – that road’s completion ceremony is scheduled for April 20, the Newtown Town Primary School, and a Housing Project in the Kalinago Territory.