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Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks has challenged members of the Jamaican Diaspora to play a more strategic role in Jamaica’s economic development.
Delivering the keynote address at the 5th Trade and Investment Summit sponsored by the Caribbean Trade Council (CTC), at the State House in Hartford, Connecticut on October 28, Ambassador Marks emphasised that economic and business ventures are important areas in which members of the Jamaican Diaspora can invest.
Ambassador Marks told the participants that Jamaica is ready and open for business, citing the country’s favourable macro-economic climate that is conducive to stimulating the productive sector, as well as the many fertile opportunities that are available for investment.
She also outlined a range of initiatives taken to stabilise the country’s economic condition, including a stable foreign exchange rate, a successful debt exchange programme that has saved the government some $41 billion, and major investment projects that are underway or in the final stages of planning, such as the US$2.5 billion Kingston Redevelopment Project; the US$220 million Falmouth cruise ship terminal; the US$1.5 billion Harmony Cove Casino and Hotel development, and conversion to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
The Ambassador spoke of strong prospects for long-term economic development, even in the face of the challenges posed by the global economy, arguing that there is urgent need for the productive sector to improve its performance, in order to reduce the negative balance of trade.
In addition to the policies of the government that are designed to stimulate production, she said venture capital will be the engine to drive renewed life into the economy.
She commended the CTC for organising the event, noting that the Trade Council is perfectly placed to make an important contribution to the creation of business opportunities, promoting trade, and encouraging investment between the Caribbean and the Hartford metropolitan region.
Ambassador Marks, who was on a four-day official visit to Hartford, participated in a number of events, including an address to the 1st Jamaica Diaspora Northeast conference; a courtesy call on the Mayor of Hartford, Pedro Segarra; meeting with members of the business community, state and congressional representatives, as well as delivering the keynote address at the Center for Urban Research, Education and Training, Education conference.