News from the OPM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Condemns Invasion of Ukraine

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Condemns Invasion of Ukraine

Says Every Avenue is being Pursued to Ensure the Safe Return of Jamaican Students in Ukraine

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has condemned the invasion of Ukraine and says every avenue is being pursued to ensure the safe return of Jamaican students in Ukraine.

The Prime Minister said his latest update is that there are currently 27 students remaining in Ukraine with 25 in the city of Kharkiv and one in Kyiv.  Another 15 students have left the country.

The Prime Minister said he has taken note of the public conversation regarding the government’s efforts to assist students in Ukraine. He noted that in a time of crisis, the government’s sole mission must be to get its citizens to safety.  In this regard, the Prime Minister said Jamaica is using all its efforts, connections, and friendships to ensure the Jamaican students can be safely returned home if they choose.  However, the Prime Minister said the personal choices of the students remain a variable in this situation.

The Prime Minister said at this point, the offer to assist students to return home, is not tied to a loan

He clarified that the offer of a loan to travel must be placed in context and that this would not be the first time that Jamaican students have been stuck in the Ukraine and a similar facility was made available to enable students to return home. This, he said is a common practice by countries to ensure accountability. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister said the government’s top priority is to get our students home.

The Prime Minister said the unfolding event in Eastern Europe is of great concern for global peace and prosperity and for timely and sustained economic recovery.

Prime Minister Holness said as a small country with an open economy and an open society, Jamaica supports the multilateral cooperative system of nations, in resolving international disputes.

The Prime Minister said, “Jamaica is consistent in its support for the universal respect and adherence to the principles of international law the respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations.” In continuing the Prime Minister stated, “We, therefore, cannot support, and in fact, we condemn the invasion of Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness said while it is still the early phase of the crisis, it is expected that the impact on Jamaica could be through global energy prices, with oil prices, and possibly, other commodities.

The Prime Minister said as countries impose sanctions on Russia, Jamaica is monitoring the possible effects of those international sanctions, which could impose obligations on Jamaica in ensuring that the sanctions are effective.

Given the potential fallout from the conflict in Eastern Europe, the Prime Minister said Jamaica, as an independent nation, must be resilient. In particular, the Prime Minister stated that Jamaica must dramatically improve its energy resilience and do much more to cut reliance on oil given the abundance of sunshine and wind at Jamaica’s disposal.  The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of ensuring greater food security as food prices rise in connection with global shocks.

The Prime Minister was speaking today, February 24, 2022, at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Stony Hill Police Station.