Editorial

Keep your hands off Hanover BPO, Mr Politician!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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The proposed plans by business process outsourcing (BPO) company Collective Solution to begin operations at the old and dilapidated Jockey garment factory could not have come at a better time for Hanoverians.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the country witnessed a boom in garment factories with the Jockey establishment a major player providing employment for hundreds under the 807 programme.

The subsequent demise of the garment industry saw the closure of many factories and the consequent loss of a great many jobs.

With the growth of technology and the desire by the major tech firms to maximise their profits, the BPO industry has been thriving, not only in Jamaica but across the world. Already in Jamaica there are several BPO companies operating mainly in Kingston, St Andrew, St James, and St Catherine (Portmore).

This new development by Collective Solution, including an estimated US$2 million overhaul of the factory's facilities in Sandy Bay, Hanover, with the intent to start in September, employing 400 employees, represents a regeneration for the parish Hanover and its residents especially.

This also meshes well with the stated government policy of making the BPO industry the main driver of the country's economic growth agenda because of its potential to create large numbers of jobs.

We are encouraged by Collective Solution's plans to incorporate in its operations the creation of what we consider essential amenities to enhance the working experience, with the provision of a day care centre, gym and recreational areas for the conduct of a variety of sporting events. Measures like these, we are sure, will also increase worker productivity and wellness.

Hanover in the last five years has been the victim of a major increase in crimes. The incidents are well known and that is why we unhesitatingly welcome this new BPO entity in the hope that gainful employment will assist in a marked downturn of criminal activities.

This newspaper, however, issues a word of caution, given the comments by Mr Dave Brown, the Member of Parliament for the area where the new facility is located:

“We welcome the decision by Collective Solution, but what we don't want to see happening is that our qualified persons here (Hanover) overlooked. Once we have the qualified persons, they should get the jobs instead of 'outsiders' from like the parish of St James,” he said.

Mr Brown should by now understand that the process of employing people and the final choice of workers is the sole prerogative of the entity making the investment, in this case Collective Solution.

This process is not to be usurped by any MP or any other politician, as has happened so often in the past to the detriment of many. In other words, keep your hands off, Mr Politician.

Of course, it would be a major plus for the parish if among its workforce there are indeed qualified people with a competitive advantage who can fill available positions without any interference by politicians.

It is our strong belief that the most qualified should gain employment, regardless of which parish they happen to live in.

This is a major opportunity for Hanover and it is our sincerest hope that many of its residents will benefit from it well beyond those employed by the factory.

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