5% in four years not going to happen, says Mahfood
The Jamaican economy will not grow by five per cent in four years without murders going down and the island's tourism pull increased dramatically, CEO of Jamaica Teas, John Mahfood, has said.
He was speaking on Tuesday at a Kiwanis Club meeting at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew.
"Unfortunately, (tourism) is where the growth in Jamaica is going to come from. We have too small a manufacturing sector to drive the economy. Our agriculture sector is way too small. We are coming out of banana, and sugar is struggling. So what are we left with? At one time, we used to have, reputably, the best ginger in the world and a substantial export amount. Now, we have to import it from China. Agriculture is not going to do it. To me, the only logical thing would be tourism growing from two million a year to ten million a year. But that is not going to happen with crime at the rate we are at," Mahfood said.
Crime in the way
He projected that the Economic Growth Council would not do what it was set up to do because crime is standing in the way.
"We heard about an economic growth council. This came in right after the Jamaica Labour Party came into power. I haven't heard anything of the plans, one year and a half later, that are going to give us five per cent growth. It is not going to happen. There is nothing that is going to come into Jamaica (within the four-year period) that is going to give us that type of growth. As a people, we have become numb to crime, and we have not forced our politicians to perform. We ourselves have lost confidence in our ability to do anything."