THE EDITOR, Sir:
On Monday, September 17, I was making my regular after-work home trip with a group of co-workers: Carpooling has become a phenomenon that the frugal-minded among us has gladly welcomed.
So as to avoid yet another price increase in gasolene, my friend quickly drove into a prominent gas retailer in the Corporate Area. Confidently, she said to the service attendant, "Full it up." It wasn't very long after that we were all dipping into our pockets to try to accumulate the CASH to pay the bill.
Similar to the thousands of small businesses in Jamaica, the service station had taken a strategic decision to stop taking credit cards. I would imagine that most of corporate Jamaica and young professionals' preferred method of payment is by credit card.
We are living in a country with a crime rate that has ballooned out of control, and as such, our society is moving towards being a cashless one. Also, let us also not forget the many persons like myself who have to juggle our credit card as a form of cash flow until we get our monthly salaries to make payment.
At a recent lecture at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, it was noted by past president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, Omar Azan, that there are two critical criteria for a business community to grow: stability and a facilitative government.
My concern is the fact that we should be moving forward as a country, becoming technologically advanced, and embracing First World countries' proven modus operandi. It does not augur well for international investors thinking of coming to Jamaica: why go into a country where the local investors are struggling, so much so that they stop taking credit cards to improve their already penurious margins?
While I am aware that banks, at times, are unconscionable with their fees, I do believe that the bigger picture encompasses the unstable framework for small businesses, high utility and crime rates, and instability of the economy.