Wed | Sep 26, 2018

China has money to spend but ...

Published:Saturday | January 31, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

ONE OF Jamaica' leading trade unionists is urging Caribbean countries to develop a regional investment strategy in order to extract the best returns from the growing number of Chinese projects now being implemented in the region.

"The money is attractive, yes, but we need to negotiate ...a CARICOM treaty of investment, where those countries participating must come together and negotiate some type of treaty for continuity. I know there is talk about integration, but, in so far as the investment is concerned, we have to find ways to hold it together," Kavan Gayle, president-general of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, told Thursday night's public forum on Chinese Investment and Immigration: Cultural Challenges, hosted by the Mona School of Business and Management, and the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Institute.


"Caribbean countries must understand, including Jamaica, that Chinese investors expect to make a return on their investment effort, despite their willingness to offer loans and grants to support specific initiatives. And it must also be understood that the Chinese investment culture and work ethic is rigidly disciplined and is likely to be in conflict with a laid-back approach," the Jamaica Labour Party senator shared with the audience at the Faculty of Law building, University of the West Indies, Mona.

He said that there is much that the region can learn from the Chinese in terms of efficiency and productivity, but the cultural exchange should be a two-way exchange.

"We respect them for their willingness to invest in our country, but the Chinese investors must seek to understand our culture and configure their investments to unleash the best from our local environment. One of the other things is that Chinese tend to carry their culture and policies to the developing countries, so locals are forced to adapt. But we have to change, and we have to recognise the challenges, because we want these investments in the Caribbean," the trade unionist insisted.

China is one of the largest economies in the world, and it is growing with trillions of US dollars in reserves.