Delano Forbes represents the future of the Phase 3 Productions company and given the present situation, in 10 years he would like to see some changes in Jamaica in the areas of governance, policy changes and social intervention.
"I would like to see a Jamaica that affords better opportunities for the youth through the creative sector and specifically film and television; also, fair and transparent governance with equal opportunities for all citizens. I hope we will have a stable economic climate, while eliminating the red tape associated with starting and maintaining a business in Jamaica. This is critical for future success.
My company, Phase 3 Productions, specialises in the field of television and film production. A people's identity is intimately tied to the stories they hear and see about themselves. Television and film allows for great cultural impact through telling Jamaican stories to the world, while creating dynamic and relatively well-paying jobs for many individuals.
To make my wishes become reality, we have to recognise that countries like Canada and Australia have very developed television and film industries driven by government incentives to spur their growth and development. Even closer to home, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have put robust incentives in place to encourage growth in this industry.
These incentives can have positive impact on Government's cash flow by helping to stimulate employment and helping to generate more tax revenues. Additionally, projects from oversees can provide positive foreign exchange to the country. Jamaica is missing out on a great opportunity and placing us at the back of the pack within the Caribbean by not putting these film and television incentives in place.
I would advise aspiring young business people to create workable ideas for themselves if they want to be competitive globally. All ideas must compete at that level but to be implemented locally, they need to be realistic within the context of the cultural and economic environment in Jamaica. Not everything that works abroad will work in Jamaica. That said, aim for the stars. If you reach the clouds, you'll still be far ahead of those who are lying flat on the ground.
I wish to see this country in 10 years recovering from missteps of the past, to a new Jamaican brand that has created an environment guided by principle, managed with prudence, viewed as transparent and enabling, protected by an efficient justice system, thus inspiring hope for all Jamaicans to realise their full potential.
To make this a reality, I would like to see Jamaica making significant progress in realising all of the objectives set out in its Vision 2030. This document is a credible vision and should be used as the road map, guiding a process of change rather than a reference for academic thinking.
However, there are four specific things that remain prominent in my mind:
1. Improve trust: Improve the trust between the public and private sector. This is not to imply that it is adversarial, but there is still a fundamental culture that prevails on both sides that needs improvement. Many national issues may have greater possibilities for success with a shared value approach for problem solving.
2. Commit to fiscal discipline and debt management: Many of the problems that confront us today are based on the lack of resources to handle recurring financial obligations based on policy decisions in the past. The clear issue is that if this country does not commit to financial discipline, we will compromise our ability to make game-changing initiatives.
3. Reduce bureaucracy: In a business context, Government should always be focused on concept of enablement and compliance. Doing business in Jamaica is an ongoing issue as it relates to bureaucracy. Leveraging greater use of technology to empower people to get approvals and transact business with the government agencies can enable a more expedient process.
4. 'Renew' the justice system: Repeal and amendment of outdated laws that are obstructive in the current environment.
For young people thinking of business in the future, I recognise that they represent an important resource for the future growth of our country. Small and medium-sized businesses are the entities that grow exponentially and will generate greater prospects for employment and wealth creation. I place a lot of confidence in the talent and potential of our young people.
Be committed to making that chosen good or service the best on an international basis; in other words, making a concerted effort to benchmark against world-class standards.
Adopt a similar approach to training to become a super athlete like Usain Bolt. He clearly set his sights not to be the fastest Jamaican athlete based on local times, but being the fastest athlete in the world who happens to be Jamaican.
I would like to see us maintaining a safer environment and putting Jamaica before party politics. I would also welcome a working relationship with the opposition setting an example for the nation on relationships and compromise.
This future business leader would like to see a Jamaica in which there is more focus on balanced budgets rather than politicians using the poor as an excuse to spend. "In addition to this, I would like our Government to treasure local investors in the same manner that they treasure foreign investors," she said.
Some welcome policy changes for Lechler would see Government adopting a "less is more" philosophy in their tax strategy, while being more accountable by delivering to citizens more value for their tax dollar. "In general, our leaders should serve the people well," she said.
There should be more tax incentives for private educational institutions and their staff to lessen the burden on the Government-run institutions to ensure they deliver a quality product to the students. I would also welcome a time when we have reduced red tape for business.
In the area of social intervention, it would be great if Government would in 10 years, have achieved a culture change where two-parent families with fewer children were the norm, thereby leading to an improvement in the standard of living of all households.
I want to see more Jamaican men sharing the same level of responsibility as women for the economic and social well-being of the family unit.
If we could have more private educational institutions, then excellent quality of education would be received by all.
We can improve our country by enumerating citizens at the workplace because our current enumeration rules favour the unemployed. The taxpayer must be encouraged to participate in decision-making process of the country.
Education must continue to be a priority and the focus must be on quality. We should abandon any primary school examinations that would punish the children for the Government's lack of resources, this includes the present GSAT and others. We also need a justice system that sends a message that crime does not pay.
Some of my ideas would work if we are more disciplined, dependable and determined in all areas of endeavour. We should be willing to start small, ask questions and investigate. Young people who want to succeed, should be willing to intern for free and seek out a mentor.
Parris Lyew-Ayee is not your traditional businessman; he is an academic entrepreneur and university lecturer.
He would like to see Jamaica as encapsulated in Vision 20/30 as the place to live, work, raise families and do business. However, he concedes that Jamaica still has a long way to go, as there are too many people interested in talking rather than taking the initiative to accomplish what they propose.
"When the talkers start doing things instead of finding all kinds of ways why something cannot be done, then we will be on to something. We spend so much time looking backwards that the world is literally passing us by. We want to be a major global player, but we need to know what it means to be a part of the world," Lyew-Ayee said.
Lyew-Ayee hopes to see a growth in academic entrepreneurs following in his footsteps. He alludes that his lack of business experience has not counted against him because of his openness to learning, as well as the mentorship he has received from some local corporate giants.
"We need to develop a results-oriented approach to getting things done, and stop wasting time wrapping everyone up in red tape. We are very low-ranking in the global index on places to do business. We set goals and targets and then do everything to sabotage this, with reckless activism and stagnant bureaucracies," Lyew-Ayee said.
"We have tried to develop social partnerships, but let us make this as black-and-white as possible, with few million-dollar words. Let the politicians and leaders in the public and private sector, the media, clergy and educators, as well as the members of the public work together to a clear and common goal, independent of self-interest. This is only possible with information. There is a lot of plain ignorance in the country, but at least with the information out there, no one will have an excuse," Lyew-Ayee added.
From his point of view, young people need to be smart, pragmatic and realistic. His advises them not to be ignorant or arrogant and to be pragmatic in their approach to life.
"If you can't afford to think long-term, think medium-term; never think short-term. Being in business is more than dealing in goods and services; it's about your human resources, customer service, product development and growth, in addition to the obvious part about being profitable and sustainable. Never want something so badly that you are willing to sell your soul for it, though," Lyew-Ayee advised.