Many opportunities to prosper from crisis - Part II
Published: Sunday | February 22, 2009
In the first part of this article, published last Sunday, the first five of 10 solutions available to Jamaicans to get out of the current economic crisis were published. The concluding five are presented below.
PROGRAMME 6: Allocate 100 of the excess civil servants as technical assistance to some targeted trading partners.
All political economists agree that foreign aid is a mechanism used by the donor to penetrate the recipients' markets with goods and services - including cultural services. They argue that $1 of aid yields 10 times more in sales to the donors. The secondment of excess civil servants to help less-developed countries is the popular strategy used. Most of these civil servants are usually the mediocre ones, as dumping is always prevalent in international donation and bartering. As Jamaicans, we know too well that the personnel we get as gifts from abroad are the third-rate ones. If Jamaica seconds 100 civil servants per year, those civil servants in overseas engagements would recommend Jamaican goods and services to their hosts. The technical assistance could be concentrated in shelter, education, public administration, culture, sports, entertainment, financial services, media and construction and tourism - areas where Jamaica has the most potential to benefit.
As a Jamaican consultant, I have worked on overseas assignments which require follow-up of different service providers and I usually recommend Jamaican providers, who the clients readily accept. Foreign aid is so critical to country-market positioning that even in an economic crisis, it gets very favourable policy support.
PROGRAMME 7: Institutionalise and give policy support to enable the diaspora to become an integral resource for Jamaica's development and economic competitiveness.
The diaspora is widely perceived and pursued as a source of remittance, barrels of household goods, and charity. These individuals are eager and highly competent to make great contributions. Remember that they represent some of the brightest, most innovative and successful technicians, professionals and entrepreneurs who have served in a wide range of industries and institutions abroad. The movement should be institutionalised and accredited by the Government of Jamaica so that it could be internationally funded to engage its human resources to:
Assist Jamaican exporters of goods and services, especially the small-scale ones, to secure markets in Europe under the Economic Partnership Agreement and also in the USA and Canada.
Deliver technical-assistance interventions to improve productivity and quality in Jamaican businesses and institutions.
Deliver technical support to our social sector to improve the quality of life for Jamaicans.
Government should also promote multimillion-dollar procurement opportunities among the diaspora as persons are usually more competent in creating real solutions for Jamaica than the mediocre professional services that the Government of Jamaica now imports, especially from the United Kingdom and the United States.
PROGRAMME 8: A Port Royal-Fort Augusta- Kingston Waterfront international trade centre.
This centre would be the hub/free zone for European, Asian, and South American trade with the hemisphere. A world-class port facility, a new airport, a modern banking sector, a dry dock, a world-class maritime school, which already exist, could be the catalysts. This development, which is former prime minister Edward Seaga's concept, (which I had the good fortune to further conceptualise with him in an advisory capacity), is very attractive to foreign investors and has the potential to directly employ more than 60,000 Jamaicans on a sustainable basis.
This kind of development is far superior in creating top-quality and sustainable jobs than the overconcentration on low-end informatics, which come by day and leave by night. Further, Government has to provide land, infrastructure and buildings to support informatics; foreign and local private investors will fund the rest.
PROGRAMME 9: Kingston Waterfront redevelopment
This would be necessary to support the Port Royal-Fort Augusta-Kingston International Trade Centre. The real estate in downtown Kingston is worth about US$4 million per acre once it has a development plan backed by innovative investment and social-upliftment policies. Since poor and working-class families cannot afford US$4 million per acre land, and they are the main victims of crime and the lack of economic opportunities, a programme should be designed to give them a socio-economic package for relocation.
This could be the package:
US$1 million (J$9 million or 25 per cent) from each acre of land should be used to settle 10 families in farmsteads or urban affordable housing with self-employment start-up funding.
Public funding should be made available to train the younger residents of the households to become competitively employable for jobs in the waterfront development, as well as the Port Royal- Fort Augusta-Kingston International Trade Centre.
This programme would also play a significant role in arresting organised crime, as residents would become more economically independent and integrated into other communities and they would have something about which to be peaceful.
PROGRAMME 10: Establishment of an international university centre of excellence for the arts in Trench Town
The population from Six Miles to Windward Road is possibly the most creative and innovative in the arts using any international criteria. Their work, without any state assistance, has gained world recognition, but they are among the poorest and most disenfranchised. An all-inclusive production, training, marketing, branding, attractions and souvenir sales centre should be established using a relocated Edna Manley School as the cell. This would also be a major enterprise in the waterfront development, as well as the Port Royal-Fort Augusta-Kingston International Trade Centre. It would, in essence, be the catalyst for industrialising and globalising Jamaican arts and culture. The possibilities are very exciting.
These 10 programmes would yield significant opportunities, prosperity, peace and fiscal viability for the poor, the unemployed, victims of crime, investors and the Government. They would also reduce the prevalence of corruption.
One of my witty Jamaican associates told me that Jamaica would always be poor. I asked him why. He said that to be POOR is a function of Passing Over Opportunities Repeatedly, a culture he believed to be popular among several generations of Jamaican leaders. I hope our Government will begin to lead us into prosperity with these and other solutions to the present economic crisis.
Trevor Hamilton is president of an international management consultancy in Palm Beach, Florida, which has offices in the Caribbean.
The Kingston Waterfront in all its glory. - Norman Grindley /Deputy Chief Photographer
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