I remember very clearly in the 1980s when a series of high profile Japanese purchases of American companies and prominent assets caused many to engage in unrealistic conversations that Japan was about to take over the world.
Probably the acquisition that brought these voices to a near deafening crescendo was the Japanese purchase of the Rockefeller Plaza on Fifth Avenue - the toniest of addresses in midtown Manhattan, New York City.
The outrage from many quarters of American society was almost palpable. Politicians, business leaders of big and small companies, unionists, taxi-men, economists and practitioners of the xenophobic apocalypse doctrine took their message to every component of the media universe.
Relentlessly, they beat their drums of economic doom.
Calm began to return only when a sage television commentator asked if the Japanese were going to uproot the Rockefeller Plaza, put it on a barge and sail it down the East river in Manhattan to Tokyo.
The real facts of the transaction are: The Japanese bought the New York City landmark at the high point of the New York real estate price cycle - the Americans made money - and sold it back to US investors near the low point of the price cycle. The Americans made more money.
And, the Japanese are as far as ever away from taking over the world. Instead, their economy has meandered in a 30-year slump and in a prolonged near-deflationary state.
This feeling against foreigners is not limited to Americans. Germans felt similarly in 2000 when Vodafone of Britain moved to take over Mannesmann, which was founded in 1890 as a maker of seamless steel tubes.
By the time Vodafone completed the acquisition - one of the biggest in history - Mannesmann was a major international conglomerate with over 130,000 employees, and was a pillar of German national achievement and pride.
In November 2010, The Economist noted that the acquisition of American, German and other countries' prominent assets by foreigners operating in a rapidly globalising world was prompting "bouts of national angst".
Of late, some Jamaicans have been feeling some of that kind of angst since Minister Pickersgill made it slip in Beijing that China wants Goat Islands rather than Fort Augusta as the location of its trans-shipment port.
NO IGUANAS ON GOAT ISLANDS
Environmentalists have taken up with vengeance the cause of keeping development - and by extension the prospective major Chinese investment - away from Goat Islands.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller estimated in her 2013-2014 budget presentation that the trans-shipment port will bring in US$1.5 billion in investment (not loan) by China Harbour Engineering Company.
She indicated that the logistics hub, which is a central plank of her administration's development and growth strategy, has the potential to attract US$9 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI).
Subsequently, her Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton, upped the FDI amount to US$10 billion. Even if a substantial discount was applied to either figure as a charge for political hyperbole, the expected investment, should even a portion materialise, would be very significant to Jamaica given our acute financial and overall economic condition.
There is no doubt that the Portland Bight and Ridge Protected Area (PBPA) is an important environmental area with special ecosystems.
In addition to the dry limestone forests of Portland Ridge, the Hellshire hills, mangroves and herbaceous wetlands of the northern, eastern and western shorelands of the PBPA, there are also caves, fish sanctuaries, coral reefs, sea grass beds, riverine and estuary ecosystems that make up the habitat.
According to one of Jamaica's foremost environmental consultants, Conrad Douglas and Associates Limited, the now controversial PBPA is home to 21 species of rare, threatened and endangered species of animals. Of these, 10 inhabit Portland Ridge and Hellshire. The other 11 species are also found in other areas of Jamaica, and 15 species of plants endemic to Jamaica are found in the PBPA.
A significant fact - probably contrary to some current comments - is that the iguana is found only in Hellshire.
There are no iguanas on Goat Islands. Some would like to reduce the debate to one between some rare iguanas, some fish - their stock has been denuded by overfishing and very destructive dynamiting of the seabed habitat - versus the welfare of 67,000 or so persons that live in the area, and the possible benefit to the wider Jamaican population from the prospective investment.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) proposed the PBPA as a sustainable development area in 2004.
The two extremes of the natural resource conservation and economic development continuum can coexist among reasonable supporters at both ends of the tandem. The PBPA was declared a protected area on April 22, 1999 under the Natural Resources (1991) Act. It was originally proposed as an eco-development area and is recognised as a multiple-use national park.
Importantly, the PBPA does not fit any of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories. These include: strict nature reserve, wilderness area, national park, national monument or feature, habitat/species management area, protected landscape and seascape, and protected area with sustainable use of natural resources.
The best approach to a broad acceptance, not necessarily unanimous agreement, will involve sticking to the known facts, mandatory and voluntary public discussion and consultations, use of a detailed set of engineering, electromechanical, structural and civil engineering and related designs, educated estimates of natural resource valuation, detailed cost-benefit analyses and using a detailed environmental impact assessment to arrive at decisions.
The public must be made aware of all but the most confidential data in the process. We must avoid the lack-of-communication mistakes the Government made in all but the last couple of months of negotiations with the IMF.
There is an elephant in the room that the politicians and others are tiptoeing around - it is the interest of the United States of America. True, the US has shown no desire to invest in our logistics hub, but that does not mean it will be indifferent to a US$1.5-billion investment by the Chinese government, whatever the name of the investment vehicle that government seeks to use.
It is not lost on the US that the Chinese plan to build their own bigger and newer Panama Canal-style waterway to avoid the prying eyes that populate the Panama Canal.
Frankly, the importance of the logistics hub to Jamaica may be far less important to the Americans than the fact that the Chinese could have its own colony off the coast of Jamaica, so incredibly close to Cuba and Venezuela, and, of course, to the American coastline and mainland. If Jamaican leaders are na´ve enough to think these American considerations are unimportant, they should think again.
Many Jamaicans have genuine and serious concerns about how the powerful Chinese government entity, peopled largely by Chinese who do not necessarily share our democratic and other values, will treat us Jamaicans when they invest their billions of dollars.
Jamaicans cannot readily turn up in Beijing and file suit in a Chinese court of law against Chinese nationals who may have wronged them in Jamaica. And if the Chinese government is the perpetrator, 'dog will eat our supper'.
Nor can we expect the equivalent newspapers of, say, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal of the US, or the Daily Telegraph of London to go after the Chinese government on our behalf. That kind of press freedom does not exist. In fact, two days ago the New Express of Guangzhou in China had to run a front-page plea for the release of one its journalists, Chen Yongzhou, who was being held by Chinese police. Mr Chen's crime? He wrote a series of investigative and unflattering articles about Zoomlion, a state-owned equipment company based in Hunan.
Let us be wise and use experienced, competent and informed negotiators to book this deal.
Aubyn Hill is the CEO of Corporate Strategies Limited and was an international banker for more than 25 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @HillAubyn and Facebook: facebook.com/Corporate.Strategies