Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has stressed the importance of functional, proactive government and enhanced private-public sector partnerships in driving business, commerce and solid investments.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the inaugural staging of the Jamaica Investment Forum 2012 Thursday March 1, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, the Minister affirmed that the government “is prepared to manage the myriad of challenges posed by the global economic environment."
"You are dealing with a government that has a fresh and decisive mandate from the people…you are dealing with a constitutional democracy, where notwithstanding change in governments, contractual obligations are always honoured and the rule of law is respected," he stated.
The Minister stressed the importance of collaborative and “whole of government” approach in achieving solid, swift and meaningful results, and noted too that the Investment Forum will see various ministers and sector leaders hosting discussions to ensure policy collaboration and coordination on important growth areas.
Minister Hylton pointed out that the forum will focus on three key sectors: niche manufacturing, health and wellness tourism, and information technology (IT) export services, all areas which can ideally foster significant growth in terms of investment.
“We must capitalise on the gains we have made in growing the IT industry to become the leading contact centre location in the English-speaking Caribbean with over 10,000 full-time agents in the offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) sector,” he stated.
He pointed out that the government has demonstrated its support in this regard with “heavyweights such as Xerox, Teleperformance and West Corporation operating in the island for almost a decade."
The Minister further noted government’s commitment to the development of an international financial services centre, which will be mandated to market and promote Jamaica as a centre for international financial services and to enhance the country’s reputation as a centre of excellence for the provision of such services.
The forum he said, “demonstrates a fundamental re-think of how we are going about the business of investment and business facilitation. Today reflects a convergence of global business with local business and in time, the distinctions will blur as Jamaica becomes a bigger and more influential player on the global stage."
The Jamaica Investment Forum is being spearheaded by the Government of Jamaica, through its focal agency for investment promotion and facilitation, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the Compete Caribbean programme. Some 120 investors from 16 countries are attending the two-day staging.
By Kadian Brown, JIS PRO