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Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) President, Joseph M. Matalon, says the group is heartened by what he describes as the Government’s actions within recent weeks to dismantle political garrisons.

Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) President, Joseph M. Matalon

“We must encourage our political leaders, not to falter in taking those difficult, but decisive, steps toward reform and renewal that are embodied in those several commitments made by the Prime Minister (Hon. Bruce Golding) on May 17,” the PSOJ head said, while addressing the PSOJ Chairman’s Club Forum, held at the Hilton Kingston Hotel last week.
Citing the recent joint police/military operations in sections of West Kingston, Mr. Matalon contended that one positive outcome arising from the incident is the “coming together of members of civil society, including the private sector, with a new resolve to take back our country and play a more assertive role in issues of national governance.”
In this regard, he said that the PSOJ will shortly be reviewing proposals for the establishment of a special committee that will be charged with developing and implementing initiatives, aimed at effecting transformation of inner-city communities. These include a project targeting at-risk youth; and private sector support for the Inner-City Renewal Initiative, through members’ participation in a working group with the main objective of the re-development and long-term management of the Western Kingston market district under a public/private partnership structure.
Additionally, Mr. Matalon said the organisation, through its standing committee on national security, has prepared a comprehensive policy paper on improving national security in Jamaica, which he urged members and the wider society, “who have an interest in knowing the PSOJ’s policy position,” to peruse. He informed that the document has been posted on the organisation’s website – www.psoj.org.
Mr. Matalon alluded to a 2007 World Bank study which estimated that Jamaica’s economy could grow by 5.8 per cent per annum, if the country’s homicide rate could be restricted to the level of at least 8.1 persons per 100,000, as obtains in Costa Rica, the country deemed to have the lowest crime rate in Central America and the Caribbean.
“Compounded, this would mean that the Jamaican economy would double in 12 years, with all the attendant benefits of investments, job creation, poverty reduction and increasing economic opportunities for all Jamaicans,” he said.
Mr. Matalon argued that to release Jamaica from the grip of crime, would require a total social commitment over the long term to: uphold and support law enforcement, to provide greater opportunities for the young people, and a firm resolve to, never again, meekly allow criminal enterprise to integrate and institutionalise itself in any community anywhere in the island.
“It is a commitment which we can and must make for Jamaica,” the President emphasised.