Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, says the agency is seeking private sector partnerships to undertake entrepreneurial activities in communities where the PIOJ's Community Renewal Programme (CRP) is being implemented.
The CRP aims to address areas of housing, infrastructure and governance in 100 of the most volatile and vulnerable communities in five parishes islandwide. These communities are situated in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon, and St. James.
Speaking at the seventh Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) investments and capital markets conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, recently, Dr. Hutchinson pointed out that Jamaica spends the equivalent of some five to seven per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on activities to effectively address crime, especially in communities deemed marginalised.
He noted that while the incidence of crime devalued the profile of the affected communities, a reverse in fortunes occurred where there was a reduction in criminal activity.
The Director General argued that a “win-win” situation for stakeholders involved would result from a transformation of those communities into “points of hope” for the residents.
“If we can create and allow for entrepreneurs in these areas; if they can (accommodate) active businesses; if we can create the environment in which everyone can respect entrepreneurship and respect how private capital can partner with them in helping them (to) have meaningful communities that they have reason to value, we know it would be a win-win for everyone,” he contended.
Noting that the CRP “has been fully developed” and that “we have all the resources” for the initiative’s implementation, Dr. Hutchinson said the PIOJ is seeking to attract private sector interest, which could turn ideas into wealth creating activities.
By Douglas McIntosh