Clarendon residents have been urged by Earl Jarrett, general manager of Jamaica National Building Society, to lobby to ensure business facilities related to the global logistics hub are established in their parish, as a result of the country's thrust to become the world's fourth global logistics hub.
"As we understand it, the logistics hub will establish, if it happens, a link between the Goat Islands and one of the parishes - Clarendon or St Catherine - and there should be an economic zone within one of those parishes," he told entrepreneurs at the JN Small Business Loans Limited annual board of directors' tour at Hotel Versalles in May Pen recently.
Jarrett pointed out that the environment at both the parish and national levels favour Clarendon's emergence as a dominant player in the country's economic development. He pointed out that the parish has vast acreage of land, is already served by a modern road network, and has a foundation for cargo facilities to play a major role in the logistics framework.
"Vernamfield is earmarked for establishing a cargo airstrip, there is great roadway infrastructure, the historic sites and tourist attractions are well known, and, of course, its relative proximity to the Goat Islands," he explained. "It is possible that the parish could benefit significantly from the transport logistics hub, or any efforts to establish the country as a logistics hub."
TURNING AROUND ECONOMY
He said new laws and policies - particularly the micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurship policy document and the recently passed Security Interest in Personal Property Act - will position the micro- and small-business sector in a serious way to assist the development of the sector in time for 2015, when the country hopes to achieve its objective.
"What this shows is that the MSME sector is being more seriously regarded as a significant contributor in turning around the economy," Jarrett stressed.
Pointing to a survey conducted recently by a student at the University College of the Caribbean among business people in the parish, he said that although Clarendonians were optimistic about the opportunities to emerge from the building of a trans-shipment port on the Goat Islands, people lack the information needed for them to make decisions about how they will invest in these opportunities.
"What we learned from the small research is that people don't know and they aren't grabbing opportunities," Jarrett said.
Clarendon small-business operators benefited from some 2,389 loans valued at approximately $216,264 from Jamaica National Small Business Loans Limited up to November 30 and generated several jobs in the parish during the past year.