JIS News

The Prime Minster’s Business Development Forum, slated for February 23, will serve to reposition Kingston as a safe and ideal business location for local, regional and international investors.
Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell, speaking at Friday’s (Feb. 17) Government Communications Group-organised panel discussion on ‘Going for growth and development through ICT’ at Jamaica House, outlined that the forum was designed to “bring investors both local and international together to speak to the merits of Kingston”.
“I think we can jointly demonstrate by our marketing and promotions that Kingston is a destination for highly sophisticated business,” the Minister emphasized, noting that international companies such as Digicel have had no problem with crime and violence, which has been cited as the main impediment to doing business in the city.
The Minister was responding to fellow panelist Patrick Casserly, Chief Executive Officer of E-Services Group International, who, in his presentation, asserted that Kingston needed to be positioned “as a viable destination for business co-location, in much the same way that the north coast was marketed to the travel sector.” The move, Mr. Casserly argued, would lead to a significant growth in Kingston’s information communication technology (ICT) business sector.
Mr. Casserly further highlighted the high cost of infrastructure, specifically that of telecommunications and building space, as challenges to investing in the sector.
Minister Paulwell, in responding, emphasized the need for government and indeed the entire country, to realize the importance of creating office space for the sector, and also to shift some of the focus to Kingston where a large pool of the labour force existed.
Despite the constraints of crime and the high cost of infrastructure, Mr. Casserly asserted that Jamaica had undoubtedly positioned itself “as a significant player in the ICT outsourcing sector”.
“The government invested heavily in infrastructure and the deregulation of the telecommunications industry,” he pointed out, adding that this approach had reaped significant benefits to the country. He noted also, that the ICT industry had the ability to transform the country, as large investors were transferring their core operations from the United States to Jamaica.
“To develop this industry to its true potential, and ensure its longevity, it will require a co-operative effort between government, private sector and educational institutions,” Mr. Casserly affirmed, adding that through creative marketing and sincere investment in the Kingston solution, “what exists today will represent a mere fraction of what the industry will represent 10 years hence”.