Parish stakeholders call for investment in BPO sector
A comprehensive investment in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the parish of St Thomas is an avenue at least one stakeholder has suggested as an 'easy fix' to issues of underdevelopment in the parish.
Almeta Johnson, branch manager at the St Thomas Credit union who spoke as a resident of the parish, noted that the BPO sector would create a platform for exponential growth in addition to creating endless opportunities for youth.
"I do believe that one of the immediate fixes for St Thomas is for one of that (BPO) to be established in St Thomas. You can enter with a minimum of three subjects and we do have persons leaving high school with their subjects. As such, I think the immediate fix would be to try and get these persons in the system," she said while addressing journalists at a Growth Forum which was held in the parish last week.
"If they are not even going to stay there long term, but the type of training that they have to go through would at least change their mindset and attitude for other jobs in the workforce. It would be good to set up one of that in St Thomas, where at least 1,000 persons can be employed."
Errol Greene, secretary manager for the St Thomas Parish Council, however, believes that drastic changes have to be made first if a BPO industry is to gain any traction in the area.
"At least once a month I have interruptions with my Internet service, and sometimes it goes for two weeks at a time," Greene said.
"You can't have a BPO without Internet and telephone. We have the property, but a lot of the people who are coming for these operations, they just want to come, plug in and start work. Somebody has to set up the infrastructure so when they come in on Friday, they can start working by Monday," he pointed out.
Johnson also advised that serious attention be given to the road structure in the parish, an investment she believes would open doors for development.
"St Thomas is beautiful. We definitely have to fix the road because all the issues that were mentioned are interrelated. We fix the road, we get our BPO, we get tourists, we get foreign direct investments, and St Thomas will eventually reach where it needs to go," Johnson said.