Jamaica’s Ministers Discuss Investment Opportunities for the Diaspora

London, England – Jamaica’s Ministers of Tourism, Investment and Sports discussed the many available business opportunities in Jamaica with members of the Diaspora in the UK at a special Diaspora Trade and Investment Day held at Jamaica House in the North Greenwich Arena, London on Sunday, August 5.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr.Wykeham McNeil, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton and Minister with responsibly for Sports, Natalie Neita-Headley fielded questions from close to 100 specially invited investors in attendance at the JAMPRO organized discussion.

Minister Hylton explained that in terms of infrastructure, Jamaica possessed both the physical and human resources in the critical areas that matter. “We need more for sure, but we have a platform from which there can be a takeoff. Our physical infrastructure, our road network is tremendous. Highways are being built and in a short time before the year is out, we will hopefully start a significant addition to the road network, the North South highway, which links Kingston to the northern parts of the island,” he said.

He pointed out that the island’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector was robust, and noted the education system was producing well-trained graduates equipped to meet the challenges of modern industry.

Minister Hylton also added that Jamaica’s geographical location has advantageously positioned the country to benefit significantly from the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is scheduled for completion in 2014.

“We sit in a position that is astride the major trading routes and we are fortunate enough to have some of the deepest ports and harbours. Our view is that we should now begin to connect these ports to the global trading routes through a Logistic Hub that we are creating in Jamaica.”

Minister Hylton stated that Jamaica’s proximity to the major markets of North and South America, as well as its network of trade agreements, have combined to put the island in a good position to maximise its trade potential.

In her address to the audience, Minister with responsibly for Sports Neita-Headley affirmed the Government of Jamaica’s recognition of the economic value of sports, which accounted for 2.6 per cent of GDP. She stated that with 10 per cent of tourists worldwide travelling to attend sport-related events, her Ministry was in the process of developing a sports marketing research team in conjunction with JAMPRO and Ministry of Tourism.

“We are, at this time, developing in collaboration with JAMPRO and the Ministry of Tourism, what I refer to as the smart team, which will be involved in marketing the sports component of Brand Jamaica,” said Neita-Headley.
She revealed that her Ministry was driving the process of developing sporting facilities, which will establish Jamaica as an attractive training base for international sports persons. To this end, a baseball diamond has been established at the GC Foster Sports College.

Neita-Headley stated that she was also looking at completing the country’s Sports Policy, which will address issues such as the tax exemption process for sporting goods and services and insurance coverage for sportsmen and women.

Dr. McNeill, Minister of Tourism, stated that the tourism sector was an important part of the Jamaican economy, and it continues to grow each year. He added that this was something that the country could be proud of.

He noted, however, that the country needed to deepen tourism’s linkage with other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, in order to accrue full benefits from the sector. He pointed out that tourism offered tremendous opportunities for potential investors.

“Developing those linkages [to other sectors] is where we have to put the investment, because it is a tremendous advantage. There are three million visitors who come to Jamaica annually. We now have to sell Jamaica to them.”

Diaspora Day was one of the many Trade and Investment Days organized by JAMPRO held throughout the Jamaica House initiative. Jamaica House 2012 is the signature international event of the Jamaica 50 celebrations and is organized by JAMPRO, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Jamaica 50 Secretariat.

Related Articles

Back to top button