Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks has said that while the island is faced with the challenges posed by the global economic crisis, the prospects for its long-term sustainable economic development are strong.
Addressing over 70 members of the Philadelphia business community, at a luncheon hosted by the Jamaica Trade Council of Greater Philadelphia, at the Duane Morris Law firm in downtown Philadelphia on Friday, November 5, Ambassador said, “Jamaica continues to show strong macro-economic indicators, which augur well for the stimulation of the productive capacity of the country. Since this year, a number of developments have given rise to a renewed optimism about the direction of the economy.”
She pointed to the reduction of interest rates and Government treasury bills to single digit figures, down from over 15 years of double-digit rates. Ambassador Marks noted that the government was examining a range of options to entice the commercial banks to follow its lead and, from recent indications the rates in the banking sector have been unmoored, and were now moving downwards.
“From my previous incarnation as an entrepreneur, I can appreciate the significance of this development – cheaper access to capital will have a positive impact on an increase in business activity in the country,” she said.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks (centre), has the attention of pastor of the Saint Memorial Baptist church in Philadelphia, the Rev. Dr. Horace O. Russel (right); and pastor of the Clinton Avenue Presbyterian church in New Jersey, the Rev. Dr. Alfred B. Johnson, after delivering the main address at an investment luncheon hosted by the Jamaica Trade Council of Greater Philadelphia at the Duane Morris Law firm in downtown Philadelphia on Friday, November 5, 2010.
Ambassador Marks told the Philadelphia business community that the successful implementation of the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) programme had realised savings of $41 billion for the country. The government has also re-engaged the multilateral financial institutions, to access loans at very low interest rates, she pointed out.
The Ambassador outlined that a number of major investment projects were either underway or were in the finals stages of planning. These include the US$220 million construction of the Falmouth cruise ship terminal; the Harmony Cove Casino and Hotel development of US$1.5 billion; conversion to Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), which will reduce fuels costs to the consumer by 30 per cent; the rehabilitation of the Palisadoes shoreline at a cost of US$56 million; and the US$2.5 billion Kingston re-development project.
She pointed out that the government’s medium-term economic and financial programme was designed to return Jamaica to a path of sustainable growth and development.
“One of my primary mission as Ambassador of Jamaica to the United States of America is to secure greater investment and business opportunities for Jamaica.in this regard, I see today as the beginning of my interaction with you to further develop and strengthen the cooperation between the Embassy and the Trade Council, with a view to promoting trade and investment in Jamaica,” said Ambassador Marks.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks (left) is presented with a copy of the Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper by President and Chief Executive Officer of the 125 year old publication, Robert Bogle, after she toured the plant on Friday, November 5, while on an official visit to Philadelphia.
She also lauded the conceptualisers and founders of the Jamaica Trade Council of Greater Philadelphia, stating that, “The Trade Council is perfectly placed to make an important contribution to the creation of business opportunities, promote trade, and encourage investment opportunities between Jamaica and the Greater Philadelphia area”.
In his remarks, President of the Trade Council, Dr. Harold Mignott, explained that the Trade Council of Greater Philadelphia was established in January 2003 to promote trade and economic cooperation through public-private sector partnerships. He noted that since that time, there have been a number of activities that have been geared towards realizing these objectives.
Ambassador Marks, who is on a two-day official visit to Philadelphia, will participate in a number of activities, which include an address to African and Caribbean round table investment seminar, a courtesy call on the Mayor of Philadelphia and delivering the keynote address at the African and Caribbean Awards Banquet. She also toured the 125 year old Philadelphia Tribune newspaper and met with the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Robert Bogle, and the editorial staff.