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Give us Daryl and a proper system! – Metry Seaga

Published:Sunday | September 4, 2016 | 9:00 AMErica Virtue

Jamaica Manufacturers Association president Metry Seaga has described as unfortunate comments made by Wisynco's boss William Mahfood last week, that the Government's investment agenda cannot be centred around its "go-to" guy, Minister Daryl Vaz.

Mahfood, the former head of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, said the Government needs to create efficient investment and growth mechanisms because calling the minister is not a system and cannot be its answer, given its desire to grow the economy and create jobs.

Seaga, speaking at a Gleaner's Growth & Jobs Forum on Wednesday at the media house's North Street office, said there was a deficit of vision in the country across the governance process and spawning administrations. He said many projects lagged because they lack a driver.

"I think William's comments were unfortunate this morning (Wednesday), but that's another matter. There are simple things we can do, and for some, we need a driver," said Seaga.

 

NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK

 

Cari-Med's boss, Glen Christian, said he did not believe Mahfood's comments were meant to be a personal attack on Minister Vaz.

"I think Mr Mahfood was expressing his frustrations with the system and a general investment climate where approvals for buildings, for example, take forever. I think Jamaica would do well with 10 more Daryl Vazes and a friendlier and more efficient investment apparatus," said Christian, when contacted by The Sunday Gleaner.

According to him, Vaz - the minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments and operating from the Office of the Prime Minister - was identified as the right person for the job, coming out of the then Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party administration between 2007-2011.

During Golding's regime, he served as Minister of Information and Telecommunications from March 2009 to January 2012. Vaz has also been publicly commended for his ability to get things done and in the quickest possible time. Christian believes that Vaz is the right person for the job, and several more like him are needed across the public sector.

"Vaz is a unique personality. He knows what to do and that is why he is the point man. But I agree with Mahfood that it can't be one person alone," said Christian.

For his part, the minister said he would not allow himself to be sidetracked from the task he has been given.

"At this point in time, rather than becoming sidetracked or distracted, I am just focusing on devoting my energies on the task at hand. I am focusing on the big projects that can bring growth and create employment for the Jamaican people. When we said we were serious about creating growth, we are serious," said Vaz when contacted yesterday.

The minister said the people of Jamaica took up the offer of the party prior to the election and gave them a chance to carry out what they said they would.

"So I know what the task is, and clearly, the prime minister has confidence in my abilities to get it done," he stated, promising that "I will get it done."

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com