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JAMAICA AT 50: Business Leaders Speak More people-centred development

Published:Friday | June 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Nigel Myrie, chairman of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry. - photo by Mark Titus

Nigel Myrie, President, Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce

With Jamaica plunged in debt and a less-than-popular justice system, Westmoreland businessman and president of the Chamber of Commerce, Nigel Myrie, believes economic independence is key heading into the next 50 years for Jamaica.

"We have achieved political independence but we have not achieved economic independence, which has, in effect, made the lives of our people worse. Our economic situation is so dire that we don't even have a handle on our standard of living. Our justice system has left many of our people with the belief that there is one justice for the rich and one for the poor. If we are to move forward, we must have a justice system that is fair. We should have made far more strides in our education system. Our Caribbean neighbours have advanced leaps and bounds in education.

"In the next 50 years, we have to look at growth and development that involves the people. We have to ensure they are qualified, and the best way to do that is to ensure that they are educated. Also, crime has to be tackled in a real way because local and international investors will not want to do business with a country that continues to have a high crime rate. Both the education and justice systems have to be fixed. I would love to see more value added to agriculture, which presents great opportunities for the country. The focus must be shifted from party to national interest."