Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Tap local goods - Foreign investors must engage local producers, says Adam Stewart

Published:Friday | July 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer
From left: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw; Adam Stewart, chairman, Tourism Linkages Network; and Jennifer Griffith, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, smile for a 'selfie' at the Tourism Linkages Network's launch of 'Christmas in July' at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

The Government must insist that foreign direct investors tap into the wealth of world-class goods and services on offer by locals to ensure more sustainable economic development, according to Adam Stewart, chairman of the Tourism Linkages Network.

Addressing the launch yesterday of Christmas in July, which he described as a "brilliant showcase of what is happening in Jamaica", Stewart said that the event was testimony to the capability of locals to deliver goods and services at and for the highest levels. Therefore, the time was right, he argued, to begin to engage them in a more structured way to maximise their contribution to national development.

"I think we've made a mistake - both sides of the political divide - historically, from a linkages point of view, where investors have come to the country," argued Stewart, who is the chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International.

"But we haven't sat at the table and spoken to them in a systematic [way] to say, 'Here are our agricultural capabilities, our manufacturing capabilities, our transportation sector'," he told the gathering at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston

"As the largest hotelier in the country, I am yet to find a need in this country that I cannot find at least one Jamaican company to fill. The capacity is here in Jamaica, and we must not listen to the hype about things not being able to be done here in Jamaica," the Tourism Linkage Network chairman insisted.