Jamaicans Overseas Urged to Participate in Development Process


Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has urged Jamaicans living in Canada to be a part of the economic growth and development now taking place in the country.
Speaking on Monday, (Apr. 5) at a reception hosted by Air Jamaica in celebration of its resumption of service to Toronto, Canada, Mr. Patterson said Jamaica was opened for business and that Jamaicans living in the diaspora should become involved in the country’s economic activity.
“You can stay right here and invest in Jamaica. Jamaica is opened for business and we want the people who form part of the Jamaican diaspora to be part of the economic growth and development of Jamaica,” Mr. Patterson said.
The Prime Minister said the recent naming of Jamaica among the top ten best places to do business by the World Bank, was an indication of the country’s successful implementation of the requisite policies and services to facilitate investors.
“What we have also been doing is to leverage Jamaica’s ideal geographic location to our benefit, by positioning Jamaica as the hub not only for transshipped goods, but also for the production of goods and services directed primarily to the North American market,” the Prime Minister added.
He said such advancement was fostered by the country’s dynamic shipping industry and commercial free zones. He added that the response from the international Information and Communication Technology firms have been overwhelming, with $8.5 Billion invested in the sector between 1999 and 2003. Mr. Patterson said Foreign Direct Investment in Jamaica tripled during the latter part of the last decade and the country was seeing a change in the type of investment inflows including investments in financial services, deluxe tourism ventures and technology-based industries.
He said these and other examples of investor confidence including investment in non-traditional areas of the agriculture industry, have fuelled growth in the local stock market, which increased its capitalization by 83 per cent last year. Mr. Patterson said billions of dollars have also been invested in Jamaica by investors from Europe, the United States and the Caribbean, as well as by Canadian companies and Jamaicans who have made Canada their home.
The Prime Minister noted that with its educated work force, supported by vocational training schools and boasting three universities, Jamaica has been able to provide cost-effective and profitable business solutions to investors in keeping with global standards.
In commending Air Jamaica, Mr. Patterson noted that the airline had done well for Jamaica, accounting for a significant portion of tourism arrivals and over 70 per cent of cargo traffic in and out of the island. He said now that Air Jamaica had returned to Toronto, Jamaicans and Canadians alike should provide the business that the airline will require.

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