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Ffolkes-Abrahams wants to revive Montego Bay's People's Arcade

Published:Tuesday | April 10, 2012 | 12:00 AM


IN A move to grow business in western Jamaica, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, state minister in the Ministry of Industry, is seeking to reposition the People's Arcade in Montego Bay, St James, as a premier small-business entrepreneurial centre.

"We are looking at micro and small business in Jamaica and how we can set them on the right path for growth and expansion. It is widely known that the micro- and small-business sector play a vital role in the growth of our economy," Ffolkes-Abrahams said during a general meeting at the People's Arcade last week.

She had an opportunity to interact and hear the concerns of shop owners, tenants and other stakeholders with a view of helping to restore the facility to its former glory.

The appeal of the People's Arcade has dwindled over the years due to a decline in business, forcing several shop owners to close their doors and others to ply their wares illegally on more visible thoroughfares in the downtown Montego Bay area. The facility is now a breeding ground for illicit activities and rodents that make use of unclean, empty shop spaces.

United effort

"It's an all-hands-on-board approach we are taking towards dealing with this matter. The time is now to help micro and small businesses in Jamaica. There is no time to waste in ensuring ... the growth of this sector through support," Ffolkes-Abrahams emphasised.

Some of the concerns by the stakeholders at the facility are space, sanitation, visibility and support in getting financial assistance from financial entities.

Operations manager for the facility, O. Dave Allen, underscored the challenges but went further to explain the earning potential of the arcade once those issues are addressed.

"We have the possibility to have growth and generate growth for Montego Bay. We have a platform that can accommodate small and medium-sized businesses. We are here to give persons opportunities to fulfil their potential," Allen noted.