NEW YORK — In the wake of the announcement by Prime Minister Bruce Golding that he would not be leading the Jamaica Labour Party into the next election, Jamaica recently demonstrated that it was still open for business by participating in an investment forum hosted by renowned business and finance news network Bloomberg. The forum was organized by Jamaica's Consul General to New York, Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger, with the support of JAMPRO.
The over-subscribed forum held at Bloomberg’s International Headquarters in New York City, attracted private investors, as well as high level executives in the financial and investment world, who heard from Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Audley Shaw and Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr. Christopher Tufton.
In a far-reaching interview with Bloomberg’s senior editors and reporters, Ministers Shaw and Tufton discussed, among other issues, Jamaica’s successful debt restructuring exercise, the sale of loss-making state assets, as well as the country's efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment.
Commenting on the recent announcement by Prime Minister Golding, Dr. Tufton was quick to emphasize that despite the Prime Minister decision to step down, “Jamaica is open for business. It is a natural part of the democratic process and it is important for all concerned to recognize that it is business as usual,” he said. The Jamaican government is currently working overtime to expand its economy, boost economic growth and attract investments in Tourism, and the Information Communication Technology sectors.
Commenting on the current situation in Europe, Minister Shaw said Greece should follow the example of Jamaica and restructure the national debt as a first step towards solving its economic crisis. “Start with the debt exchange. We had to do it because we had no other alternative." The much touted Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) was seen by business and investment pundits as a brilliant move, which paved way for positive movement in Jamaica’s credit rating as well as a US$1.27 billion stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Under the JDX Jamaica exchanged approximately US$8 billion in domestic bonds for securities with lower interest rates and longer periods of maturity.
During the discussion with Bloomberg, Minister Shaw indicated that he was optimistic about the Jamaica economic performance predicting that the economy would expand more than 2.5 per cent during fiscal year 2011/2012. “Despite the challenges in the global economy, there is money and what we have to do is build a platform of credibility that can attract that money,” Minster Shaw said.
Consul General Brown Metzger was pleased with the interest from the business and investment community and was optimistic that the visit by the two Jamaican government officials would bear fruit. “Investment opportunities present a solid option for investors, she asserted, adding that investors would be surprised at the return on investment and open market access that could be afforded them in Jamaica."
Consul General Brown Metzger is planning on hosting other events geared toward turning the spotlight on to the wealth of opportunities available in Jamaica.
Organizations represented at the forum included Barclays Bank, Castle Oak Securities, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, ING Bank, Morgan Stanley, Normura Bank, North East Securities, Openheimmer, Scotia Cap.