Tue | Aug 22, 2017

We are ready to engage the new government - western stakeholders

Published:Tuesday | March 1, 2016 | 3:00 AMMark Titus

Western Bureau:

Should the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) form the government when the political dust from the 2016 general election is settled, key stakeholders in the business sector in western Jamaica would like to see the gains of the previous administration preserved.

In addition, the various sector players would also like to see special care being given to the selection of ministers to fill critical ministries such as tourism, agriculture, and industry and commerce.

"Tourism has been doing well, and we cannot afford to let this slip, so we need someone like an Edmund Bartlett, who can hit the ground running, to head that ministry. ... He knows the market, and he did a great job between 2007 and 2011," said top-flight Montego Bay hotelier Godfrey Dyer. "The industry, investment and commerce ministry needs a Dr Christopher Tufton; he knows this sector well."

Orrette Fisher, Jamaica's director of elections, told journalists yesterday that a winner of the national polls, which took place last Thursday will not be announced until the recounting of ballots, which was still taking place yesterday, was completed. At the end of the preliminary count, the JLP had a thin 32-31 lead over the People's National Party (PNP)

ENGAGING EACH SECTOR

For Gloria Henry, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the western region considered an important driver in the nation's economic growth, she hopes the relevant ministers will be willing and ready to engage with the stakeholders in the key sectors.

"We would want to engage the selected ministers to look at their growth plan, so we can support and collaborate where necessary," said Henry. "We would also want to share our views on critical national issues, especially in the agriculture, tourism and business industries."

Yoni Epstein, head of the Business Process Outsourcing Association of Jamaica, wants the new administration to look at issues such as the transfer taxes, which he thinks is anti-growth. He also wants a fresh new drive in the investment sector to encourage small and medium operations as well as measures to make things easier for local investors to enter the lucrative business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

"The drive to project Jamaica as a premier BPO destination must continue," said Epstein. "... And those roadblocks that confront prospected investors must be dealt with as a matter of priority."

Davon Crump, the CEO of Global Outsourcing Solutions Limited, whose business, and Epstein's ItelBPO, are the only two local investors in operation, is renewing his call for more to be done for local investors.

"The previous government did not do enough for local investors in the BPO industry. If the new administration is serious about the sector, it must become more attractive for locals," said Crump, who is an outspoken advocate for home-grown businesses.

mark.titus@gleanerjm.com