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USA threatens Jamaica: If Huawei 5G is used, no more help with hurricane

Last updated on March 9, 2021

The US ambassador to Jamaica threatens to refuse humanitarian aid in natural disasters if the country does not exclude Chinese providers from 5G .

Cellular communications in Jamaica (Image: Spectrum Management Authority Jamaica)

US Ambassador Donald Tapia has threatened the government of Jamaica with failing to provide assistance in the event of a disaster if the Caribbean island nation expands its 5G network with Huawei or ZTE. Tapia said that in an interview with the daily newspaper Jamaica Observer . "In the event of a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster, we cannot and will not work in a Chinese communist network as it gives them the ability to download all the data we have," he said.

Furthermore, the country's finances would be paralyzed. "The consequences will have an impact on banking and any financial transaction from this island," said Tapia, adding, "the biggest consequence is that financial institutions and the finances of Jamaica will stop functioning."

The leading cellular operators are Cable and Wireless (Flow), Digicel and Oceanic Digital (Claro). Jamaica Observer reports that the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) , an agency of the Department of Science and Technology, is well advanced in preparing for 5G services on the island. SMA managing director Maria Myers-Hamilton said the frequency bands 24.25 to 27.5 GHz, 37 to 43.5 GHz, 47.2 to 48.2 GHz and 66 to 71 GHz should be used for 5G. The frequency bands are currently not used by any of Jamaica's cellular network providers. She stressed the need for Jamaica to set up national committees to examine local spectrum needs for 5G and the practical ways in which the spectrum can benefit the Jamaican economy.

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Tapia made it clear that his country has national security concerns about the 5G technology offered by Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE. The US government has so far not been able to prove its allegations of alleged espionage activities by Huawei for the Chinese government.

The US had previously put pressure on Poland : future US troops deployments – including the prospect of a permanent base called Fort Trump – may depend on the Polish decision to use Huawei.

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