Tue | Dec 7, 2021

Creative industries key to Ja’s recovery from COVID era – Hanna

Published:Friday | October 30, 2020 | 12:05 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Lisa Hanna.
Lisa Hanna.

Western Bureau:

People’s National Party (PNP) presidential aspirant, Lisa Hanna, says the creative industries and agriculture are key sectors that must be given top priority if Jamaica is to quickly recover from a post-COVID-19 era.

Addressing a virtual Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Tuesday, Hanna, who is also the member of parliament (MP) for South East St Ann, said that if she were in a position to be calling the shots, a PNP administration would move with great haste to position both sectors where Jamaica could capitalise on their many potentials and also the opportunities they can provide for the country’s working men and women.

“I can tell you that if I were the prime minister … or if I were to become prime minister … agriculture and the cultural and creative industries are really the two pivotal industries that we would ensure have the kind of stimulus that we have done for tourism ... as we have done for business process outsourcing,” Hanna argued.

‘Take risks now’

“We have to really put our all and risk it now. When you say go all in … we have the best global competitive advantages with agriculture … with the cultural and creative industries … and even with health tourism now … and retirement village tourism like what they are doing over there in Barbados.”

Hanna further pointed out that Barbados has been coming up with some innovative and creative ways to boost their economy, adding that Jamaica has far more by way of variety and value-added potential than most, if not all, of its Caribbean neighbours.

“When the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Bank of Jamaica came recently to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, what was clear in their forecast is not how we were going to leapfrog out of this COVID fog,” Hanna noted.

“I am still not seeing the kind of mechanisms that the Government has to put us on a firm footing and where we are going to turn this corner to ensure that we not only survive as a country, but that we prevail, and how we are going to take everybody with us, because it is not only making sure that the businesses are for a few, but we have to dig and drill all the way down so that the grassroots also have a livelihood.”

Hanna added that the novel coronavirus has now created a situation where the gap between the wealthy and the poor has got even wider, where she is now fearful, “really, really fearful” that “if we don’t provide the kind of mechanisms to bring that divide closer, then we are going to have some serious problems in this country in another three years”.

And turning to the politics of the time and if she were to be elected leader of the PNP in her quest on November 7, against rival and fellow MP Mark Golding, Hanna described herself as a transformational leader, noting that she has undergone a period of maturity which included “becoming a better listener” that makes her a good fit to face the many challenges ahead.

“Politics has become a blood sport, but I have learned that you don’t necessarily have to go toe to toe to get the desired results,” Hanna added.

“What the people want … what the people expect … are representatives that will go to bat for them and to represent them in a manner that will make their lives better.”