Major Investment and Trade Fair for St. Thomas


The spotlight will be turned on the parish of St. Thomas from December 3 to 9, when the St. Thomas Heritage and Tourism Committee and the United States-based philanthropic organization Upliftment Jamaica, host the ‘Cum Bak Ya’ investment and trade fair in the parish.
The initiative is the brainchild of entertainment communications guru, Gary Foster, who is Executive Vice President of Rush Communications and also head of Upliftment Jamaica.
‘Cum Bak Ya’ is being organised as a week-long series of activities, which will provide a forum to acquaint potential investors with a range of investment opportunities in the parish, particularly within the agricultural and tourism sectors.
The extensive programme of business development, educational and cultural events, seeks to target parishioners residing overseas, as well as local residents, with the view to forging new partnerships that will facilitate increased investment and aid job creation.
According to Mr. Foster, who is a native of St. Thomas, ‘Cum Back Ya’ “will be the signature event for St. Thomas and will feature a comprehensive offering of entertainment, exploration, relaxation, information and investment activities.”
He further explained that it is in the interest of Jamaicans who hail from St. Thomas to become passionate advocates for the revitalization and economic advancement of the parish.
“Our continued engagement with the St. Thomas community stems largely from the deeply held conviction that notwithstanding its current challenges, St. Thomas remains a parish with significant potential, which should definitely be encouraged. Our mission is to engender a partnership that will give rise to a new spirit of entrepreneurship and community empowerment that will constitute a platform for broad-based, sustainable development,” he stated.
The highlight of ‘Cum Back Ya’ will be the staging of the Paul Bogle international trade fair, which will draw attention to the key areas for development including agriculture and agro-processing, advertising, information and communications technology (ICT), manufacturing and tourism, particularly within the area of health and wellness.
The trade fair will also provide attendees with information on critical needs areas including education and training as well as environmental preservation.
According to Mr. Foster, any new thrust aimed at boosting economic development in St. Thomas will necessitate strong public sector support, particularly with respect to combating the effects of flooding which, over the years, has significantly affected the parish’s infrastructure.
Given this reality, Mr. Foster has also called for the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to provide training and develop a “first responder corps” in the parish.
In addition to the international trade fair, Mr. Foster and Upliftment Jamaica will also host several private business meetings, seminars and mini workshops targeting specific productive sectors, a special symposium on education, as well as a health and wellness festival.
The health and wellness component will include medical, dental and optical care, which will be available at two venues in the parish and will be provided free of cost. Patrons will also be able to sample various products and services in the areas of nutraceuticals and alternative medicine, and will be exposed to new technological advances in telemedicine.
A celebration of the parish’s culture and history, ‘Cum Back Ya’ will feature the Paul Bogle heritage tours, which will allow participants to tour heritage sites, trails and farms in St. Thomas, which will offer visual aids and related memorabilia.
The extensive roster of events will be rounded out with the hosting of the 2007 Upliftment International gala awards dinner on Saturday, December 8 and a gospel concert on Sunday, December 9.

JIS Social