Local Chinese respond to COVID-19 relief effort
With the nation seeing massive dislocations as a result of the global impact of the deadly COVID-19, the local Chinese community, which is oftentimes accused of not being receptive to integration, has joined the all-hands-on-deck approach in a bid to cushion the impact of the virus, which has already claimed more than 20,000 lives across the world.
“This is our home, too, and especially in this time of crisis in which people are losing their jobs and there is an increasing need for food and personal items, we have come together, as the leaders of commerce, to support our Jamaican brothers and sisters,” said Yangsen Li, an influential member of the local Chinese community.
“We share the concerns of the heavy toll that the onset of the coronavirus is having on everyone and feel compelled to play our part to minimise the negative impact that it is having. Our contribution is also our way of expressing our appreciation to Jamaica for opening itself to us as home,” added Li.
The Chinese have been providing care packages to a wide cross section of the society, including the organisations on the front line, such as the police, the fire brigade and nurses, as well as to schools and needy communities.
“The donation included food-stuff, masks, hand sanitisers, tissues, gloves, hand towels, and other items,” said Li. “Donations to schools were made to ensure the environment would be a safe one when the schools reopen.”
Cognisant of the fact that the impact of the COVID-19 could span several months, Li said the Chinese community is prepared for the long haul.
“We are hoping to continue this effort for as long as we can, to ease the difficulty our fellow Jamaicans will face as we fight the spread of the virus in Jamaica. There is a large consignment of goods on order from China, which should be delivered by air courier within the next seven to 10 days, following which we will have another wave of assistance to the communities and agencies that need it,” the Chinese-Jamaican said.
So as to ensure that as many persons as possible benefit from their giveback efforts, the Chinese have initiated contacts with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica with a view of collaborating with them to ensure maximum outreach and coordinated approach.
“Our contribution is our way of expressing our appreciation to Jamaica for opening itself to us as home, and we will continue to be good corporate citizens in giving our support whenever we can,” said Li. “We are aware that in earlier times, the Chinese community was very active in the life of the people of Jamaica, and as a new generation, we intend to bring that back, in keeping with Vision 2030. We share the aim of Jamaica as the place of choice to live, work and raise families.”
The action by the Chinese community has been lauded by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), which has welcome their support at a time when the nation needs to unite to face the fearsome global crisis.
“This is a very good move and it is most welcomed,” said Janet Silvera, the president of the MBCCI. “The Chinese have always been very helpful, and while they don’t seek to ‘loud up’ what they are doing, we at the chamber can attest to the positive contribution they have been making. As it relates to the current situation, it goes to show that they are interested in what is happening in the Jamaica community and want to play their part.”