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Michael Lee-Chin, chairman of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and the Canadian-based AIC Mutual Funds, has said that his best investment to date was the purchase of NCB four years ago.
Mr. Lee-Chin was addressing a Jampro-organized investment forum on Tuesday (April 4) held at the Toronto Board of Trade, where he declared that Jamaica was an excellent place for doing business.
“Jamaica is an excellent place for investors,” he said, noting that, “the country has excellent low risk ratio, the government welcomes investors with open arms and there is a great pool of employees, who are friendly, hardworking, bright and loyal”.
Stating that, “the tide is rising in the Caribbean and in Jamaica specifically”, the NCB chairman said the region was poised to become the new hub for “baby boomers”, who, as they got older, were seeking sun and sand, and have saturated the Eastern seaboard and Florida.
Noting some specific areas of investment, Mr. Lee-Chin cited services for retirees, healthcare, telecommunications, tourism, real estate and agriculture.
Citing his own investments in Jamaica, he mentioned Kingston Wharves, Medical Associates, Blue Cross and UGI Insurance Company. “We are walking the talk. We are in Jamaica because we see a fantastic opportunity for growth, an opportunity to create phenomenal wealth and an opportunity to do well for the country and the region,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Kirk Kennedy, Jampro’s Executive Director, said that Jamaica was ready for business and brand Jamaica was the 10th most recognizable brand in the world.
“Brand Jamaica is known for fun, creativity and reggae, but we want to stretch the brand to include sophistication, reliability, acumen and business opportunities,” he stated.
He pointed out that with the expected expansion in room stock in the tourism sector, potential investors should consider the development of attractions such as theme parks and historical and cultural sites; boutique hotel developments; health tourism such as spas; sport tourism; eco-tourism; and housing and supporting infrastructure for employees of the sector.
Jamaica’s Acting Consul General to Toronto, Dale Jones, congratulated Jampro on its initiative in staging the investment forum, noting that “entity Jamaica” and “brand Jamaica” were attractive prospects for potential investors.
“From our beautiful landscape to our vibrant and energetic people living the legacy of Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey, we say to the world, One Love. Our great country with its unique brand of products will forever contribute to a world where we have diversity and equality,” Mr. Jones stated.
Other presenters at the forum, which was held under the theme: ‘Today’s Opportunities, Tomorrow’s Success’ included: Mel Smith, Jampro’s Regional Manager for North America; Chris Stokes, General Manager of International Business Development at NCB; Marjorie Seeberan, General Manager of NCB Corporate Banking and Debra Lopez, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Investor Relations, NCB Capital Markets.