Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Alternative to JEEP

Published:Wednesday | July 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Job creation is one of the primary functions a government has to undertake in order to increase growth and reduce social unrest. The Government introduced the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), which has spent billions of taxpayers' hard earnings.

However, has the country achieved the maximum benefit from this job-creation venture? The consensus among Jamaicans is that it's a waste of scarce resources in its present format.

An alternative to JEEP is the creation of agricultural processing plants in each parish. There is at least one factory in every parish unoccupied. Most of our agriculture produce is seasonal, which results in glut and spoilage. Let us look at a few products such as tomatoes, mango, papaya, melon and peanuts.

Sixty-five per cent of food and beverage consumed in our hotels is imported. The hotels use a large amount of canned tomatoes, along with other canned products. All these could be supplied locally.

These factories could supply the School Feeding Programme. They could also supply hospitals and children's homes. Furthermore, even if no immediate market is sourced, most products have a long shelf life, which means nothing would be wasted.

Cuba has the most biochemists per capita in the world. The Jamaican Government can make a bilateral agreement with the Castro administration to assist with technical and human resources to start up these factories.

I know the political pundits will find all the reasons this suggestion cannot work. Prove me wrong.

JOHN MCINTOSH

Hotel Management

Consultant

jpmcintosh@hotmail.com