JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Institute, Donald Roberts, says going forward there should be continued improvements in communication between Jamaicans and Chinese who are in the island working on major infrastructure projects.
  • He made the comments in an interview with JIS News, at the end of a public forum held on Thursday, January 29, at the University of the West Indies Mona, which looked at Chinese investment, immigration and cultural challenges.
  • The forum was organized by the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Institute, and the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), and saw presentations from the University, the trade union movement, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Institute, Donald Roberts, says going forward there should be continued improvements in communication between Jamaicans and Chinese who are in the island working on major infrastructure projects.

He made the comments in an interview with JIS News, at the end of a public forum held on Thursday, January 29, at the University of the West Indies Mona, which looked at Chinese investment, immigration and cultural challenges.

The forum was organized by the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Institute, and the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), and saw presentations from the University, the trade union movement, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Mr. Roberts noted that the forum has exposed stakeholders to a better understanding of what needs to be done to welcome investment, and to ensure that the country’s laws and culture are protected.

“(This is) to ensure that we engage in a partnership and a friendship that can last us and that out of that can be a mutual beneficial relationship,” he said.

Mr. Roberts also added that trade unions got an opportunity to put forward their “experience over the last two to three years, with the Chinese investment, particularly in the sugar industry.”

Persons also heard from the Mona School of Business and Management about some of the cultural sensibilities, and its impact up on the Chinese business.

Lecturer in International Business and Strategy, at MSBM, Dr. Toluope Bewaji, while calling for intermediaries to build relations between Jamaican and Chinese workers, noted that “we have a perception of invasion; we need to be very careful about that.”

“If we look at what they have done in African countries, when they acquire oilfields, they are there to develop, (and) sometimes provide scholarships,” she said, while stressing that personality clashes will take place, as the cultures are different.

CHEC employs some 2000 persons in Jamaica, and is currently executing infrastructure projects across the island valuing some US$1.5 billion.

Recently, the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping, approved over US$250 billion for the development projects for the Caribbean and Latin America.

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