The president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nathan Robb, has made a call for business operators to focus on employing strategies for growth.
He noted that despite challenges in the economy, there are opportunities for businesses to expand, and figures indicate that a number of operations in western Jamaica are growing.
"While we might not have … the larger industries, such as manufacturing, we do have several business-process outsourcing (BPO) companies based here," he said, noting that the BPO sector is a mass employer in the region.
Robb was speaking at a think tank on Thursday at the Jamaica Information Service's Montego Bay Regional Office, ahead of the chamber's annual expo slated for the Montego Bay Convention Centre from October 11 to 13.
"We must begin to see growth as an incremental step in expanding our businesses, our services, our products … . If you are able to employ two more persons, you have grown, and that is what we say: Do more, be more," he said.
"If you are able to employ four more persons, the spin-off effect directly to the individuals and the economy is far great," he added.
Pan Caribbean Sugar Company Limited (PCSC) closed its internal security department and has outsourced security services at its sugar estates at Frome in Westmoreland, and at Monymusk and Bernard Lodge in St Catherine.
The company said it has informed its internal security personnel, the unions representing the workers, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of its decision.
In a media release, PCSC, which is a local company owned by Complant International Sugar Industry Company Limited, said its former internal security personnel have been given 117 cheques, representing the full amount of the severance payments to which they were entitled.
"This difficult decision comes after more than 13 meetings with the unions, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries were unsuccessful in arriving at an agreement in respect of the dispute concerning these internal security personnel," the company stated.
The management of the company and security personnel have been involved in a dispute, which was reportedly triggered by the company's decision to send the internal security personnel on paid leave to facilitate discussions with their unions regarding the restructuring of the company's security department.
The Child Development Agency (CDA) is pressing ahead with its community consultations across the island, the latest of which was held in Allman Town, Kingston, on Wednesday.
Rosalee Gage-Grey, acting chief executive officer of the CDA, said the consultations with stakeholders and parents were necessary to address the issues affecting children, while emphasising the importance of good parenting.
She said the consultations have highlighted the need for more effective parenting in tackling some of the social ills affecting the country.
"We realise that there is a need to equip parents with the requisite skills to enable them to provide a nurturing and stable environment for their children," Gage-Grey said.
She added that the CDA has intensified its efforts in lending support to families through counselling. The agency has also partnered with Food For The Poor and the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education to get economic support for families in need.
Speaking at the forum, Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna implored parents to pay closer attention to their children.
She said parental neglect was one of the leading causes of abuse across the country.
Earlier this month, the Office of the Children's Registry reported that between January and March of this year, 1,303 cases of child neglect and 1,040 suspected cases of children in need of care and protection were reported.
While showing his support for Audley Shaw to take over the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr Christopher Tufton warned Labourites that regardless of who wins the race, it will still take a united party to win the next general election.
Tufton, who was speaking Thursday night in Junction, St Elizabeth, said that supporting one contender meant no personal ill-feelings towards the other. However, he said his decision to support Shaw was based on who he believed had the best chance of bringing the JLP back to governance.
"He (Shaw) has the experience to reorganise the party machinery for winning elections again,"Tufton said
Daryl Vaz, who also showed up in Junction to show his support for Shaw, shared similar sentiments and urged JLP delegates to make the right decision at the appointed time.
"Think about nothing else than who is the best man to take us back to Jamaica House because I don't love the poor house. I love Jamaica House," he said.