'Tone down the hype'
Logistics hub possible but much more hard work needed - Tufton
Co-executive director of the University of the West Indies-based Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), Dr Christopher Tufton, is warning that it will take more work and less hype to make the proposed logistics hub a reality.
Pointing to a just-completed CaPRI study on the proposed logistics hub, Tufton argued that the data shows that Jamaica is far off from successfully implementing the proposal.
"What the study shows is that while the vision of a hub is a positive one that can in fact translate to benefits to the country, the reality is that we still have a far way to go, particularly in the related and supportive areas where the jobs and economic activities are going to have the greatest impact on the country," Tufton told The Sunday Gleaner.
"The study also shows that we have to be very careful that the hype does not overrun and distract us from the real work that has to be done, and it also shows that the expectations that some may have that this is likely to be a reality in the very near term is an unrealistic expectation because there is much work to be done," added Tufton.
The CaPRI co-executive director argued that the study, dubbed 'Creating National Wealth through the Jamaica Logistics Hub: Looking beyond ports and parks to people and processes', was influenced by the verifiable data that was collected and the study.
He said the study was to reconcile the hype and expectations around the proposed logistics hub with the realities of the challenges which the country needs to confront in achieving a hub that is functional and competitive.
"What we have actually done is in keeping with our mandate to encourage best practices in public policy, to examine hubs around the world.
"This was done because we felt that the Jamaican proposed logistics hub has to be placed within the context of the global environment and has to be developed keeping in mind that we are competing against others regionally."
Tufton said CaPRI used the global benchmarks from agencies like the World Bank to see how competitive Jamaica is and found that while we are competitive in some areas, such as location, the country is behind in the supported and related services which the data shows are fundamental in creating a hub.
"It is possible to achieve but the focus has to be a lot sharper, and the assessment shows that on the people and process component we have a far way to go."