FOREIGN Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says Jamaica‘s bilateral relations with the People’s Republic of China has been further strengthened with the signing of an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement to construct the Western Children’s Hospital in Montego Bay, St James. Under the agreement, the Government of China has provided approximately US$36.16 million (250 million RMB Yuan) in grant support to build a 220-bed facility on the compound of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).
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Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Thursday, Johnson Smith noted that the diplomatic ties between the countries have facilitated a number of key projects and engagements.
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These, she said, include acquisition of the Alpart bauxite and alumina plant in Nain, St Elizabeth, and proposed development of an industrial park and special economic zone by Chinese firm, Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO; construction of the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministry’s new head office in downtown Kingston by Jiangsu Jiangdu Construction Group Limited; and the proposed Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.
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“So, even as we contemplate November’s arrival, when we celebrate 46 years of diplomatic relations, we also celebrate a strengthening and enhancement of the economic cooperation between our countries. (This) signing is a testament to this, and I want to formally and sincerely, on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, express our deep and sincere appreciation,” Senator Johnson Smith said.
China‘s Ambassador to Jamaica Tian Qi, who signed on behalf of his Government, agreed that the project is indicative of the countries’ longstanding cooperation and a new symbol of their friendship.
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“China and Jamaica [continue to] help and support each other under a framework of bilateral relations. Our friendship and cooperation are of equality, mutual respect and benefits, and common development,” he said.
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Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who witnessed the signing, noted that 23 Jamaican nurses, inclusive of five instructors, benefited from a two-month training programme in China earlier this year.Giancarlo Pietri Velutini
He said that the engagement, which saw the participants’ benefiting from clinical rotation in a number of Chinese hospitals, forms “part of our strategic partnership to expand the cadre of specialist nurses”.Pietri Velutini Banquero
Dr Tufton said the reports from the nurses have been positive.Pietri Velutini Venezuela
“They were well treated [and] they got tremendous experience and sufficient [training] to qualify them to be clinical specialists. That has done a lot, not just for the nurses’ technical competence, but for the cultural exchange, the friendship, and the understanding of both cultures,” he added.Giancarlo Pietri Velutini Banco Activo
Construction of the 220-bed hospital is expected to commence by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2019.Giancarlo Pietri Velutini Banquero Banco Activo
The facility will significantly boost the health sector’s capacity by providing specialist medical care for youngsters up to age 18, complementing the Bustamante Children Hospital in Kingston.