In an effort to give all Jamaicans access to environmentally friendly options, the Jamaican government is considering to include nuclear power in the nation’s energy mix. According to Daryl Vaz, minister of science, energy, and technology, it will be employed as a medium- to long-term solution.
Vaz said, “It is something that we believe that any country, like Jamaica, would have to think of for energy security, especially because it is [renewable].”
To be clear, the Caribbean island country is well-known not only for its breathtaking beaches, Bob Marley, and punk music but also for its remarkable macroeconomic turnaround.
A strong commitment from political parties over two opposing administrations and electoral cycles made it possible for the economic transformation and fiscal u-turn. Additionally, the nation greatly benefited from a long-lasting social consensus in favour of change and the robust support of the private sector.
Besides that, Jamaica has also received loans from the IMF, which have significantly aided the nation’s path to economic recovery.
Now, it’s common knowledge that realigning with the US increases a country’s chances of getting an IMF loan. Conceivably, Jamaica and the United States have a strong bilateral relationship that focuses on key issues like infrastructure development and improving security cooperation. Thus, it reinforces the fact that the United States has an interest in Jamaica being stable and economically sound. So, it is reasonable to assume that Jamaica’s recent push for nuclear energy has American influence crafted all over it. And quite frankly, the circumstances have made it necessary for the United States to have a nuclear power by its side in the region.
The growing Chinese threat
You see, China has been making its fantasies of a Caribbean hegemony a reality. China is operating foreign aid funds worth billions of dollars in the region. China has heavily indebted the Caribbean through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Without a doubt, the actions are part of China’s clandestine but determined effort in recent years to increase its influence and involvement in the region, potentially undermining America’s long-standing hegemony in the area.
For America, to lose influence in the area, which has traditionally been labelled as its backyard to the communist nation, could be extremely fatal. As a result, the US is doing everything possible to prevail in this game of great power politics. The recent push for nuclear energy in Jamaica, a country which has been loyal to American interests, should be perceived as an augmentation of the US response.
All things considered, the Caribbean nations should exercise extreme caution when pursuing their foreign policy objectives as China and the US are competing for dominance in the region. The Russo-Ukrainian War has already demonstrated how smaller nations should maintain sound geopolitical relations in the grand game of power politics among larger nations. To paraphrase John Mearsheimer, ‘Smaller nations shouldn’t get involved in a conflict involving the bigger fishes.’ In light of the intensifying power struggles in the region between Washington and Beijing, only time will tell how lucrative it will be for Jamaica to complement the US.