Thursday, June 17, 2004

Ja: Jamaicans remember Reagan fondly

From a letter to the editor:

AMID ALL the eulogies to the late President of the United States, Mr Ronald Reagan, we should not forget some of his contributions to Jamaica.

On the occasion of the visit of Prime Minister Edward Seaga to Washington, at a formal dinner at the White House, President Reagan personally asked David Rockefeller to set up a Committee to help Jamaica strengthen its economic and social base.

Known as the Rockefeller Committee, projects were developed with active input from other U.S. private interests. The late Carlton Alexander was a member of that Committee, representing Jamaica's private sector.

MR. REAGAN'S INITIATIVE

In addition to a massive increase from USAID's funds, Jamaica received benefits from at least two other institutions which were specially created as the direct results of President Reagan's initiative.

One was the setting up of the Jamaica Agricultural Development Foundation (JADF) in conjunction with Land-O-Lakes of Minnesota. The Foundation was capitalised by the sales in Jamaica of American butter and cheese which came in under the PL-480 programme, to provide venture capital for projects. These sales generated considerable funding for the JADF, augmented by the granting of tax-free status by the Government of Jamaica for a number of years.

An offshoot of the JADF was the development of the Jamaica Agricultural Research programme (JARP) headed by the late Dr. George Wilson.

Among many of its developments was the funding of the development of commercial orchids and other exotic flora.

The JADF is still functioning.

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