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On the Corner with EPOC | Cassia Park residents charge private sector to do more

Published:Sunday | October 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Residents of Cassia Park in St Andrew are concerned that local private-sector leaders seem more interested in lining their pockets than the overall improvement of Jamaica.

The residents used the latest Gleaner On The Corner with the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) forum at the Dollaz Fi Dollaz Chill Spot on Red Hills Road last Thursday to demand that leaders of the private sector do more for the country.

"A man in business to make money, yes, but if you want to uplift your country, there are other things to do. The Government can't take on everything," declared Michael Lawson.

He argued that with the Government strapped for cash, the onus should be on the private sector to invest in human capital for the benefit of the country.

Lawson cited a recent report in The STAR of the efforts of 12-year-old Conroy Shakespeare, who saved $680 from his lunch money and purchased six chickens to help his family to start a business.

"When you find a young man like that, the private sector should adopt that young man, train him, and give him a coop with 1,000 chickens same time because he's already showing that this is what he wants to do," argued Lawson.

"The private-sector leaders don't invest in Jamaica none at all ... . If each private-sector company ... adopts one of our football teams, we would have better footballers coming out of Jamaica. They are making billions off Jamaican products throughout the world and they are not investing back in Jamaica," added Lawson.

He was supported by Carla Lalor-Ebanks, who argued that the private sector should take a more keen interest in young, business-minded Jamaicans.

EPOC Co-chairman, Keith Duncan pointed out to the residents that some private-sector companies have stepped up to the plate, but he acknowledged that more can be done.

"Can we contribute in any meaningful way - money or otherwise - to make our country great and wonderful and achieve a greater quality of life for all of us? I would say yes. So, I agree with you," said Duncan.