I WISH for economic independence for Jamaica, where all Jamaicans can enjoy a high quality of life from entrepreneurial activities and well-paying jobs created by sustained inflows of quality inward investments and lucrative trade with the rest of the world.
Yet, my sense of pragmatism cautions that such an ideal state of affairs will not come easily. It will require visionary leadership, planning, hard work and the collective will at all levels of our society to win economic freedom and independence.
I wish we could begin by immediately killing this anachronism in our way of life called 'Jamaica Time', which frankly the modern world has neither the time nor the patience for; and demand and construct for ourselves a new culture of respect and customer service that will eliminate waste and boost our levels of productivity.
Imagine a Jamaica where standing in long queues for hours on end to do a simple transaction at the tax office would be no more.
All in our reach
None of this is beyond us. I can recall those halcyon days when home telephone service was a privilege for a few, enjoyed after many years of waiting and hoping for the appearance of the technician from the Jamaica Telephone Company. Now we are one of the most saturated places on earth with landline and mobile telephony and ubiquitous smartphones, two or three of which are owned by your average citizen.
Imagine a social milieu where we are all working together to find new ways of getting things done better and faster. This new mindset and modus operandi would be our prime currency for encouraging, building and sustaining local and foreign investor confidence in our country. It would also send a strong and unmistakable signal to the global economy that Jamaica means business.
And finally, our global appeal as a small island developing state far outweighs our popular size or economic achievements. The world loves us for our creativity, our imagination and our relaxed flexibility, which often manifests in stellar achievements in music, sports and the creative industries.
As we reflect on the vibrancy of our cultural heritage - 'Out of Many, One People' - I wish all Jamaicans would sincerely respect and treasure our widespread fame achieved over many decades, by living up to their full potential and playing their part in pursuing and establishing a new, dynamic and inclusive economy fuelled by knowledge, creativity, talent and innovation.
- Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO