United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Pamela Bridgewater, says she is committed to working with Jamaica to improve its economic future. However, she says success will depend on the role Jamaicans play in that effort.
“The path for increasing economic growth in Jamaica rests in the hands of Jamaicans. The sooner steps are taken to rein in crime, lower energy costs and eliminate unnecessary obstacles to direct foreign investment, the sooner I think new money is going to start looking for a home in Jamaica,” she suggested.
She was giving the main address at the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM) Montego Bay chapter 25th anniversary luncheon, on Friday (February 18) at the Palmyra, a Solis Resort and Spa in Rose Hall, St. James.
Ambassador Bridgewater noted that the successful Jamaica Debt Exchange, coupled with the progress the country has made in meeting the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) standby arrangement targets, have created a temporary window of opportunity, or breathing space, which it needs to take full advantage of.
She insisted that taking advantage of the opportunities that have been created is the only way that Jamaica could end the pattern of high debt, to be able to grow the economy and create jobs.
She said there is no need for grand speeches, pronouncements of long term plans or White Paper studies, all of which have already been done.
“What is needed is to assess the obstacles, realistically, regardless of how small, that hinder investment and ensure that they are resolved quickly and efficiently,” she stated.
She went on to give examples of things that can be done to assist the process, which include: passing of the Patent and Design Act, to bring Jamaica into compliance with international Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) obligations, which would remove it from the 301 watchlist of the IPR; implement a secured transaction reform, which would provide a way for persons seeking business loans to use the equipment they own as collateral; and implement a Credit Bureau provision, that would assist the banks to better assess the risk to borrowers.
Ambassador Bridgewater lauded the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce for its work in the implementation of a secured transaction reform, but asked that the ministry expedite the process by seeing it through to a fully functioning online database to record liens against movable property.
This would allow persons access to the credit they need to start or expand businesses, she said.
“It is these types of incremental improvements in the business environment that will send the right signals to the world, not just to the United States but to the world, that Jamaica is an attractive place to invest”, she stated.
She said that examples of countries moving to attract investments can be easily found in this region.
Contact: Bryan Miller
JIS Regional Office