Official fund launched to support Jamaica’s hurricane relief effort

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The ‘Building a Better Jamaica Fund’, which has been established to support the country’s Hurricane Beryl relief efforts, was officially launched on Monday at Jamaica House.

The Fund, to be administered by the NCB Foundation, will facilitate contributions, with the goal of raising $300 million to assist communities impacted during the passage of Hurricane Beryl on July 3 to recover and rebuild.

An initial $20 million has been pledged by National Commercial Bank (NCB), which will match donations received, up to $150 million.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and NCB Financial Group Chairman Michael Lee-Chin headed the officials participating in the launch. 

Holness said a new website has been developed to receive donations. Persons may access the platform at www.disasterfund.opm.gov.jm.

He indicated that the platform will serve as the Government’s single central source of information and statistics on the impact of Hurricane Beryl, as well as for accepting donations from persons who want to support national relief efforts.

The prime minister informed that anyone, locally or overseas, with a Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card can go on the site and make a donation.

“One of the reasons we established this official portal is to provide assurance to persons who want [to make contributions] that their donations are going to the right place and will be put to good use. Please make sure that you go to the correct website,” Holness added.

Persons wishing to donate via bank transfers may do so at JMD – NCB Mandeville Branch, A/c # 501556815, or USD – NCB 1-7 Knutsford Boulevard Branch, A/c #354658984. Switch Code/BIC: JNCBJMKX.

Holness extended gratitude on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica to Lee-Chin and the NCB Foundation for their vision, generosity and unwavering commitment to the country’s recovery efforts.

He also commended other stakeholders and international organisations that are assisting and have indicated their willingness to support the national cause, while encouraging others to consider doing likewise.

“I’m filled with hope and confidence in our ability to overcome this challenge and to emerge stronger than ever. Another word for crisis is opportunity, and as I drove through Jamaica and I saw the devastation, I saw the crisis. But I am seeing so many opportunities for Jamaica to recover stronger. 

“So yes, it is all about, now, a mindset. You may not have electricity now, you may not have water; but don’t let that create a mindset of doom and gloom, a pall of negativity that will essentially become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you allow it. Let us take a positive attitude, an attitude of hope and an attitude of resilience that we will recover from this stronger,” the prime minister said.

Holness noted that the Government is using all the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic experience to guide post-hurricane recovery efforts.

“For the areas that I have toured, I want to say to the people, I hear your pain, I see your pain and I am working as hard as I can to make your recovery as quick as possible, but to make it as sustainable as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, Holness said the Government is undertaking a sustainable and coordinated recovery effort.

“There is a perspective being shopped around that the recovery should be quick, and that’s what we want. There are those who are setting the expectation that the recovery will be the next day, without taking into consideration some very practical concerns. You can have quick recovery but not a full recovery, you can have a quick recovery but not a sustainable recovery; and what we want is a sustainable recovery in every dimension of the crisis,” he stated.

Consequently, Holness said “the dimension of the crisis that we are looking at today is how do we manage public, corporate, civil society and philanthropic donations”.

“It is important that the Government creates a space where the corporate, philanthropy and civil society [input] can be coordinated and organised,” he stated.

Holness said careful planning is critical in ensuring that Jamaicans who are in need benefit from the national relief efforts.

“You could have a quick recovery of everyone running to give the names that they hear, the parts of the country that appear more on television… whilst there are others that are neglected because they have no access, they have no visibility or any voice. So, my job, as Prime Minister, is to make sure that every dimension of this crisis is properly covered. We want to do it speedily [but] we want to do it correctly,” the prime minister said.

Meanwhile, Holness assured that the Government will continue to mainstream climate resilience. 

Lee-Chin also echoed the prime minister’s invitation for other corporations and Jamaicans to support the national recovery efforts. 

He maintained that the Fund’s target “is not going to stop at $300 million, it can’t; so those of us who can [donate], should”.