Portmore businesses need its residents
Mark Beckford, Staff Reporter
( L - R ) Earlington, Hinds, Jackson
THE BUSINESS community in the municipality of Portmore is calling on residents to spend more to help the local commercial sector stay afloat during the ongoing economic crunch.
Stevie Earlington, second vice-president of the Portmore Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said this was especially important to battling crime in the neighbourhood, as more investment meant more jobs. He made the call during a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum at the Portmore Municipal Council's offices.
"The businesses in Portmore can expand and when they expand that means more jobs, and with more jobs, you have more people off the streets," Earlington argued.
One proposed solution is creating a business directory of services offered in the municipality.
"We should look at a Portmore business directory because a lot of people who live in Portmore don't actually do business in Portmore, most of the business is done in Kingston, a lot of the businesses in Portmore are not supported by the people in Portmore," Earlington said.
In the meantime, Mayor Keith Hinds believed more dialogue needed to be had about developing Portmore.
"I have often spoken about a tourism product, of putting Portmore in the context of the 15th parish, not just for a nice sounding thing, but to expand it so we can start to build a development plan around what we have ... around our human capital we have residing in the municipality," he said.
Member of Parliament for South St Catherine Fitz Jackson, however, voiced concern, saying Portmore needed to promote the development of innovative industries.
"Truth be told ... the configuration of that geographic place called Portmore doesn't lend itself to providing any job creation in any significant way. What we have to seek to do is to see the economy around us developed in such a way that we can demand the skills of people who live here," Jackson said.
He pointed to the business model of information communication technology businesses which used limited space, but required highly skilled persons.