Sun | Dec 9, 2018

JCC to forge national strategic plan to transform Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | January 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Larry Watson

President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), B. Larry Watson, is urging stakeholders not to dismiss offhand the idea of an attempted hijacking of the State by criminal gangs, who have put aside turf disputes in pursuit of much higher stakes.

As a result, he said that the business-sector industry associations have commenced a process to forge a national consensus with Government, the Opposition, civil society and security experts in developing a credible national strategic plan to transform Jamaica.

 

JAMAICA UNDER SIEGE

 

Watson, who was speaking at a JCC board of directors meeting in Montego Bay, St James, yesterday, said that Jamaica finds itself under siege, even after years of "new" crime plans and myriad special measures and the multiplicity of announcements made by successive administrations.

"Last week, in fact, one of our past presidents asked the disquieting question as to whether what we have been seeing in the past years amounts to the attempting hijacking of the State by criminal gangs," said Watson.

"But let us not dismiss the thought out of hand: it has happened before in this hemisphere and there are ample grounds to believe that it is still happening," he stated.

He noted that the targeted transformation must result in Jamaica becoming a safe and secure society, where murders will be reduced from the present 58 per 100,000 to no more than 18 per 100,000 by 2025, and that demands must be made on those elected and appointed to represent the people.

 

'Demand that those we appoint do their jobs'

 

"We need to demand that those who we appoint do their jobs and we, in our various spheres, also need to do our job," president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, B. Larry Watson, said yesterday.

A high crime rate in Jamaica is costing the economy an additional four per cent per annum, Johnson said, adding that years of austerity and bitter medicine under successive administrations must not be wasted.

"Our society could be growing by an additional four per cent each year were it not for the crime that plagues our country. Our citizens have struggled through decades of austerity and other harsh medicine in successive administrations. It is time for us to realise that the pay-off is not only dependent on those we elect but also on ourselves as individuals, families, businesses and civil society," Watson said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com