Jamaicans in the dark on what logistics hub is - survey
Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
A recent survey has shown that the vast majority of Jamaicans think the Government has done a poor job in educating the country about what a logistics hub is.
The investigation, commissioned by the Jamaica National Building Society and carried out by pollster Bill Johnson, revealed that 75 per cent of those queried believes the Government has failed to adequately inform the population about its plans relating to the hub.
Only eight per cent believes the Government has sufficiently informed the populace about its plans, while 17 per cent doesn't know if the Government is doing a good job.
Diane Edwards, head of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation, told The Gleaner earlier this week that many Jamaicans are, in fact, having a challenge in understanding what the logistics hub is about.
"Because it is not a concrete concept that is physically brick and mortar and in one specific place, people have not understood the implications and the business opportunities," she stated.
NOT SURE OF BENEFITS
Of those interviewed, 41 per cent indicated that they were unsure of whether the proposed logistics hub would benefit the country.
But 28 per cent saw the logistics hub as "good for the people of Jamaica", while 31 per cent said the hub will not benefit the country.
Johnson Survey Research Limited, which conducted the survey between November 23 and 30, 2013, interviewed 1,491 Jamaican residents, 18 and older.
Harold Davis, deputy chief executive officer at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, said a complete buy-in and understanding of the logistics hub and its benefits is necessary if the initiative is to be successful.
"The public is either uninformed or underinformed. The average person on the street does not understand the fullness of the hub and what it means for him," Davis added.
He said some persons are even of the opinion that only big businesses will benefit from the proposed hub.
However, he expressed that a two-day symposium, planned for next Tuesday and Wednesday, will be a good start in getting the public - especially the small-business community - more informed.
The Logistics Task Force has indicated that it will soon be rolling out a public-education campaign in an effort to change the public's perception on the hub.
Dr Eric Deans, who chairs the task force, said they are currently working on developing on a master plan, which would include expanding the port facilities and building on other existing land and air facilities.
He said they have already identified 16 special economic zones, which will provide opportunities for local small businesses.