Are we truly sovereign? Foreign aid, the international transfer of capital, goods or services from a host country or organization to a recipient country can be presented in three ways; economics, military or humanitarian support (Shah, 2014). Foreign aid in Jamaica is a multi-dimensional concept that encompasses not just loans and grants but projects and external partnerships geared towards development. Whilst the focus will be on Jamaica, it is important to note that the level of dependence on foreign aid regionally is relatively high when compared to other regions. Prior to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Lomé Conventions incepted in the 1970’s were central to the trade and aid relationship between the Caribbean and Europe (Hall and Sang, 2010). Internally, Jamaica has protected its sovereignty despite an early dependence on regional and external strategies according to a report from the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI). Among the external partnerships are the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the (USAID meaning?). Jamaica has maintained a relationship with the IMF since the year following independence. The IMF’s mandate focuses more on financial assistance while the World Bank concentrates more on social reforms programs. Since its inception in 1962, the USAID and Jamaica partnership has been committed to assisting Jamaica in development. Also the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) has provided security in Jamaica. In providing foreign aid, multilateral agreements have promoted developmental programs such as economic growth reforms and the PATH programme, facilitated security initiatives as well as fostered disaster risk management projects. – restructure
Development programs instituted by the IMF and World Bank have enhanced sovereignty in that the political leaders have greater control of the internal issues and eliminate the possibility of other forces having a political foothold in the country. For example, the Bretton Woods Institutions of which the IMF and the World Bank are the chief facilitators several finance and social policies in Jamaica. According to the World Bank (YEAR), over the last 30 years, Jamaica has suffered high debt, low growth and external shocks. As the country continues to implement economic reform programs, Jamaica’s economy has begun to revive at a slow pace with the gross domestic product (GDP) increasing at 1% per annum according to an IMF report (WHERE DID YOU GET THIS REPORT). Jamaica’s economic crisis worsened in 2012 when the debt equaled 145 percent of the GDP.
In addition to financial assistance, Jamaica has gained social reform projects in areas such as poverty alleviation, education and infrastructural development. One classical example is the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) which became operational in 2002. The programme has been largely funded by the World Bank which supplied US$40 million. The World Bank noted that over 387,000 Jamaicans have benefitted from the conditional cash transfer that helps to improve school attendance and health care visits for children and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly. Whilst it is essential that country receive aid, in some cases the terms and conditions are consistent with that of development (NOT CLEAR). One example points to the Jamaica/ UK prison deal in 2016. Public Defender Arlene Henry was cited in a Gleaner article mentioned that the deal was dismissed as the conditions were below the minimum constitutional requirements. The terms of the deal included $5.5 billion to construct a modern prison in Jamaica to accommodate the transfer of 300 prisoners in the British jails to complete their sentences in Jamaica. Also included was that the UK would only provide 40% of the cost and Jamaica would supply the remainder. By having total control of the economy, the country was better able to protect its sovereignty as it eliminates the possibility of other countries ‘repackaging’ aid and taking political control in the long run. ( RESTRCUTURE)
Among the security policies in Jamaica is the Caribbean Basin Initiative, which was an agreement between the United States and Jamaica that provides assistance to counter violent crime and transnational criminal activity. The partnership focuses on reducing corruption, increasing transparency and good governance and building Jamaica’s capacity in its security efforts (US Department of State, 2017). Frederick (2010) asserted that in 2009 US President Barack Obama launched a revised CBI with US$45 million to train and enhance anti- drugs efforts in the Caribbean. Frederick (2010) further purported that this initiative by the US resulted from Jamaica’s lack of resources for territorial policy and security that is required to combat the guns for drugs trade. He posited that without external assistance, the Jamaican government would in the long term lose control of the country to drug kingpins. One such example is the role of Christopher Coke both in his community and in drug dealership. In 2010, Coke was listed as a dangerous criminal by the US Department of State given his role in drugs dealership (Frederick, 2010). However members from Coke’s West Kingston Community regarded Coke as a highly influential leader who had a lot of positive impacts on the area. Coke’s influence was gradually transforming to the political level which arguably led to his extradition to the United States (WHEN) (Frederick, 2010). Therefore without the partnership with the US on security reforms, Jamaica would remain a place for drug dealers to have more control than the government over its citizens. Additionally the CBI in particular creates the platform for the government to exercise full over its coastal space, thus maintain sovereignty.
In addition to security, the USAID has reinforced Jamaica’s political sovereignty by contributing to its disaster management policies. One example put forth by the website is that in 2016 when it was forecasted that hurricane Mathew would hit Jamaica, U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance responded with $100,000 in funding to the Jamaica Red Cross (JRC) to support relief efforts. Since 2010, USAID has provided more than $3 million to support stand-alone disaster risk reduction initiatives in Jamaica. By strengthening the country’s ability to respond to disaster, eliminates the possibility of external forces invading the country.
In summary, Jamaica is indeed a sovereign nation especially with the inclusion of multilateral agreements. Foreign aid is transferred through the agreements and has enhanced and solidified the notion of sovereignty in Jamaica. Despite the austerity measures attached to economic growth policies, the country remains independent given that economic growth and social policies have been strengthened. Also, more emphasis has been placed in areas such as security and disaster management.