Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Youth, civil society must rise up to make the logistics hub a reality

Published:Wednesday | September 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Contributed photos Columbus Communications' Sean Latty, managing director, and Andrew Lee, director of carrier services, are presented with a cherished memorabilia from their alma mater, Jamaica College (JC), by its current principal Ruel Reid. The team visited JC recently and discussed the role of technology in education and Jamaica's development.
Sean Latty, managing director of Columbus Communications Jamaica Ltd, is greeted with a firm handshake by aspiring engineer Gareth McNish, a sixth-form student at Jamaica College, to the delight of Tanikie McClarthy, Columbus' corporate affairs manager.

Jamaica is wonderfully located by God in close proximity to the major shipping routes of the world, blessed with a wonderful climate, abundant natural resources and resourceful people.

Jamaica was once the fastest growing developing country in the world in the post World War II era. Since 1973, Jamaica has seen a significant fall in GDP growth rate and productivity.

The concept of a logistics hub had been touted for a long time. We are not now talking about trans-shipment hub: we are talking about intermodal transportation system (land, sea and air).

We are talking about establishing economic zones that can produce value-added goods that can be re-exported across the world. This would enable Jamaica to grow more than seven to 10 per cent per arum that we need and not one to three per cent.

To get the required investments for this initiative, we need an accommodating legislative and business environment.

We need lower energy cost, improved transportation, ICT and port infrastructure and an appropriately trained and certified workforce.

We are fortunate that we are in the middle of an IMF programme that is forcing us to carry out much-needed reforms. This will force us to do the growth-enabling initiatives to realise this project.

Poor political leadership and economic management have made Jamaica unproductive and debt-ridden. If we fail to reform our economy we could very well become a bankrupt country.

This need not happen and the youth and civil society must rise up and demand that our political leadership do the things that are urgent to make the logistics hub a reality.

- Ruel Reid