Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Manufacturing would grow if crime were controlled - JMA head

Published:Thursday | June 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Metry Seaga (left), president of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, chats with Dennis Valdez, managing director of Newport Fersan Jamaica Limited, ahead of yesterday’s annual general meeting.

Loosening the stranglehold of crime on manufacturing could result in a doubling of the 8.5 per cent contribution to gross domestic production that the sector now adds to the economy each year. The 79,000 jobs as well as the US$486 million in export earnings and J$55 billion in taxes it pays to the Government could also be significantly increased.

"Criminality is affecting productivity in a real way. Manufacturers are having to spend more to achieve the same or less output. Workers are demoralised. They can't make it to work on time and they must leave (work) early to avoid area curfews and gunmen. But most importantly, the greatness of our country is being held captive by a minority of criminals," Metry Seaga told yesterday's 70th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA).

 

Measures to address crime

 

Seaga, who was re-elected unopposed to serve for another one-year term, gave a summary of the association's take on the measures necessary to address crime in a sustainable way.

"We are of the view that the national security plan that the prime minister promised in 2016, a plan reinforced by the minister of national security in his 2017 budgetary presentation, should be put in an EPOC-type (Economic Programme Oversight Committee) framework with clear objectives, timelines, and ownership. The EPOC has had some measure of success," Seaga said.

Additional measures outlined by the returning JMA president to its membership at its 85A Duke Street, downtown Kingston office are as follows:

- Commissioner George Quallo must be more on the ground as per his pledge to be "visible pon di corna".

- Clear articulation of the resources that are lacking and thus compromising the fight against crime.

- A more responsible approach by the media to report the facts in a non-salacious and sensational manner and to hold accountable those who have made promises and commitments to improve the quality of life of the citizenry.

- Immediate increased Jamaica Defence Force support for the Jamaica Constabulary Force as promised in January by new Chief of Defence Staff Major General Rocky Meade.

"It is the right of every citizen to have a safe environment to raise their families, and we at the JMA believe that if this is elevated to the number-one priority of the country, then the positive multiplier effect on the economy will follow," Seaga declared.