The mercantile Chinese community in Montego Bay, St James, has donated over $8 million in food and healthcare supplies, including sanitisers and masks, to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chinese community’s contribution was co-ordinated by Ziping Chen, President of the Fugian Association, and Yangsen Li who also chairs a sister city committee between Montego Bay and Zhejang Province in China. Li disclosed that the initiative was also supported by many other members of the Chinese community, including many students who contributed their lunch money.
Of the nine recipients, half the supplies valued at more than $4.5 million went to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, while the Freeport police received supplies valued at over $802,000, and Member of Parliament for Central St James, Heroy Clarke, got $677,000 for distribution particularly to his many inner-city constituents.
Other recipients included the St James Fire Brigade, the St James Infirmary, Jenny Kushmar Nest Girls’ Home, Montego Bay Community Home for Girls, West Haven Children’s Home and Blossom Garden Children’s Home.
National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, on Saturday welcomed the support of the Chinese community when he visited Beauty Queen, the large distribution centre at Fairview in Montego Bay along with Montego Bay Mayor, Homer Davis, Superintendent of Police Vernon Ellis, head of the St James police, and other interested parties.
Chang expressed appreciation to the donors, noting that the items included supplies which would benefit first responders treating cases of the deadly virus, as well as the vulnerable in the community, “some of whom are very poor” and “could save some lives”.
Chang was particularly pleased with the supply of special masks donated to the police who will be on frontline duty in ensuring compliance with protocols that are in place for treating COVID-19.
He commended the Chinese business community for showing that: “They are not here only to invest and make a profit, but have integrated themselves into the community and are making a valuable contribution and in this time of our need, have come forward (to help).”
Meanwhile, Davis reflected that Jamaica and China have had a long relationship going back over 150 years, and said he expected the friendship between the two countries to continue for a very long time to come. He also recognised the value of the gifts, especially to those on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight, and the poor and vulnerable.
“It is not for the greedy, but the needy, and I only hope that the needy will get it,” Davis emphasised.