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Note-worthy: Saluting Dr. Patrice Smith

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Thank you for your story on Dr. Patrice Smith. It is so wonderful to know that a fellow Jamaican has excelled so much in Canada, coming from a small community in Westmoreland.

Dr Smith - Simone, as we used to call her - was always destined for good. She was always on top in her schoolwork, and maintained her grades throughout. She was a shy person with a kind heart and I am so proud to have been her friend as a child, and to have been brought up in the same community. I am not surprised at her success as she was always a star.

May God continue to bless her.

- Georget Cummings,, 151 South Norwood Hill, London, SE25 6DE

Outdated industrial model

Some of our popular economics commentators now see it fit to laud the industrial development model championed by the late Robert Lightbourne in the 1960s. Others see the success of the Singapore economy as one we should emulate. The Lightbourne model was based on cheap and semi-literate labour, cheap energy and abundant cheap water. Add low taxes and limited environmental regulations and investors rushed in.

Unfortunately, they failed to plough back capital into obsolete equipment and as labour began organising they packed up and fled to more fertile pastures. Tourist and bauxite investments were enticed for the same reasons. Prime beach and bauxite lands could not be acquired anywhere else in the world for the prices paid in Jamaica.

Singapore's economic success, on the other hand, was based on three pillars: Government's determination to provide a 21st century education for all its citizens; promotion of a mixed economy, which has culminated in government ownership of enterprises comprising 60 per cent of GDP; exportation of enhanced technology; and efficient and disciplined society.

While we have been busy liberalising our economy, Singapore was busy setting up a sovereign wealth fund to retain reasonable ownership and control of their resources. Jamaica's economic malaise is not due to a lack of resources. We have far more natural resources than Singapore. Our problems lie in a lack of leadership, a semi-literate, inefficient labour force and an outdated economic industrial model.

- R. Oscar Lofters,