Outgoing United States Chargé d’Affaires to Jamaica, Eric Khant, has commended Jamaica on its growth in the area of disaster preparedness.
“I think that Jamaica’s preparedness for disasters has improved tremendously over the last two years, because of the Local Government and Community Development Ministry’s efforts, and we can appreciate that. Still, there is a lot of work to be done and we are committed to it,” Khant said.
He was speaking at his farewell call on Minister Desmond McKenzie, at the Ministry’s Hagley Park Road offices, yesterday.
“Jamaica has great potential and has been progressing for the last decade. You are at the point where [the country] is just ready to take off, but one disaster can undermine that. So, being prepared for eventual disasters is key and I think this Ministry has been proactive in that,” Khant stated.
He pointed out that the United States military is committed to continue working alongside Jamaica in joint exercises with the Jamaica Defence Force and Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.
For his part, Minister McKenzie said he hopes the close ties with the USA will strengthen.
“We have seen some real positives over the last two and a half years as it relates to disaster response and America’s commitment to the programme,” he said.
Khant leaves next week to assume his new role in the United States Department of State. He will be in both the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and the Bureau of Energy Resources in Washington DC.
Jamaica and the USA, through the US Embassy in Jamaica and development agencies, have shared a long-standing relationship in disaster management, coordination and response.