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National Commercial Bank (NCB) Chairman, Michael Lee-Chin, has encouraged entrepreneurs abroad to consider new investment in Jamaica and to expand existing operations, noting that the island was an ideal location for doing business.
“My experience from the standpoint of NCB has been very rewarding. The experience has led me to be not just optimistic about Jamaica’s prospects, but also to consider additional opportunities and to encourage others to do the same,” he stated.
Mr. Lee-Chin, who is also Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian-based wealth management firm, AIC Limited, was addressing the annual fundraiser of the American Friends of Jamaica held last Thursday (Nov. 4) at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. He was honoured at the black-tie event for his support for local charities.
Speaking on the value of education in small developing countries such as Jamaica, Mr. Lee-Chin emphasized that every effort should be made, both on the part of the private sector and the government, to ensure that educational opportunities were available to all Jamaicans, regardless of their economic standing.
He argued that Jamaica’s future would, in large measure, depend on the country’s ability to prepare its future workforce by offering educational and training opportunities that were responsive to a dynamic and increasingly globalized environment.
“Jamaica has been blessed with huge human and natural resources, which must be used in the service of our country’s development. We are blessed with talented young people who, if given a chance, if given opportunities for success, will definitely take advantage of these opportunities and become productive citizens. This is a challenge that we must meet as a country,” he said.
Mr. Lee-Chin also promised that NCB would continue to work with the Jamaican government and the private sector to ensure the creation of additional scholarships for deserving Jamaican students and to assist in the overall thrust towards the modernization of education in the island.
Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, who was a special guest at the function, praised AFJ for its continued support of projects and institutions in the island including the Jamaica Society for the Blind, the Mona Rehabilitation Foundation, the University of the West Indies and the Montego Bay Hope Medical Centre.
He also lauded Mr. Lee-Chin for his commitment to the island, noting that his acquisition of NCB was demonstrative of a “confidence in the Jamaican economy and in Jamaica as a location where investors can indeed make money and have their companies benefit.”
AFJ President and former United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Glen Holden, also thanked Mr. Lee-Chin for his continued support of the work of the AFJ and paid tribute to the many American and Jamaican firms that have contributed, over the years, to the success of the organization’s philanthropic activities.
Among other guests at the fundraiser were Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley; United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Sue Cobb; Gleaner Chairman Oliver Clarke and Chief Executive Officer of Island Grill, Thylia Lyn.