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Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davis, has said that the Jamaican economy was showing very positive signs.”Jamaica is getting out of the doldrums and overall the economy is showing very positive signs. We’re beginning to tame the devil of inflation, which at 6.5 per cent is the lowest rate since March 2003. The Net International Reserves are $2.3 billion, which is a $200 million improvement over the June figure,” he said.
Dr. Davis was addressing patrons attending a forum organized by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and the Gleaner Company entitled, ‘Outlook for the Future: Doing Business in Jamaica’, held recently at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Canada.
Presentations were also made by representatives of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), National Land Agency, Passport and Immigration Department and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
The Cabinet Secretary gave updates on a wide range of topics, including tourism, road and airport improvements, electoral reform and crime.
In the area of tourism, he said that Jamaica has registered a 17 per cent growth from January to September of this year over the similar period last year. “Jamaica is hosting more than its population in stop-over and cruise ship passengers,” noted the Cabinet Secretary.
Turning to infrastructure, Dr. Davis said the Negril to Montego Bay section of the North Coast Highway was completed, while the Montego Bay to Ocho Rios section was nearing completion. The Kingston to Sandy Bay section of Highway 2000 was also finished, he added.
He pointed out that significant improvement had taken place at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, and major improvements were underway at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, to be completed in time for Cricket World Cup 2007.
On the issue of crime, Dr. Davis admitted that it remained a challenge. Although major crimes had decreased, there have been “ups and downs, but the trend line is moving in the right direction”, he said.
The Cabinet Secretary said there was a correlation between persons being deported and the rise in criminal activities, adding that between 1995 and 2005, more than 33,000 persons were deported from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
“Seventy-two per cent of those deported were crime-related. We have to work out some rules with the countries which deport these people,” he emphasized.Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner brought greetings, and Earl Jarrett, General Manager of JNBS, chaired the event.