Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Western Jamaica stakeholders optimistic about 2016

Published:Tuesday | January 5, 2016 | 1:00 AM
Mark Hart
Gloria Henry
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Having left 2015 behind just last week, some stakeholders across various sectors in western Jamaica have expressed optimism for the fulfilment of several objectives for 2016, even as they reflect on accomplishments made during the previous year.

Among those voicing their impressions of 2015 and their hopes for the New Year, was president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, Gloria Henry, who said her organisation accomplished much of what it had aspired to do.

"For the Chamber, I think 2015 was a good year for us. We achieved most of what we had planned to do, and we have had some good engagements with members of the diaspora, and with the visit from the United States congresswoman Yvette Clarke," Henry told Western Focus.

"Working with various agencies such as the St James Parish Council and the National Solid Waste Management Authority, we are expecting them to deliver on the promise of another garbage truck for Montego Bay," Henry added. "We are looking forward to rolling out our 'My Mobay' campaign. It will start with the schools, as we had some high-level engagements with the regional director of the Ministry of Education (in 2014), and so that programme will start this year. And we are also looking to continue our discussion, our dialogue and our push for the new bypass for Montego Bay."

Executive chairman of Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited (CPJ), Mark Hart, said that while 2015 has shown mixed results concerning Jamaica's economic challenges, several sectors that are impacted by tourism are in a position to see growth during 2016.

"Our industry in Montego Bay is greatly influenced by the hospitality sector, and that sector has performed extremely well, as there has been a lot of new investment taking place. I think we are in a great position to capitalise on a growing tourism industry, which will have several positive effects for other sectors that support the industry, like manufacturing, agriculture, transport, and entertainment," said Hart.

"We need to maintain the conditions of the International Monetary Fund and stabilise the dollar ... and we need to control our crime situation, as this year has been horrendous in St James," Hart continued. "Other than that, we are in good shape, and 2016 could be a good year."

Public relations consultant for the Western Regional Health Authority, Clinton Pickering pointed to a several advancements made in Jamaica's health-care system during 2015, while admitting that the sector has been affected by negative incidents.

"Undoubtedly, there has been vast improvement in the delivery of health care, for example, a new and expanded renal dialysis unit and the start of construction on a state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre at Cornwall Regional Hospital," said Pickering.

"Regrettably, the many positives have been overshadowed by a few negatives, notably the fear of Ebola, the outbreak of the chikungunya virus, and the neonatal fatalities due to the klebsiella virus," Pickering said. "Looking ahead to 2016, our progress will continue. The several development projects that are on stream will be pursued, with others on the drawing board."

- Christopher Thomas