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Invest in Jamaica, Government, Opposition urge Diaspora

BY HORACE HINES
Staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 17, 2017

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr Horace Chang, has reached out to members of the diaspora to join the Government on its path to growth by investing in their native country.

Dr Chang, who was delivering the keynote address at the 40th National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organization (NAJASO) anniversary gala awards ceremony at Secrets Hotel here Saturday night, pointed out that the current, ripe investment atmosphere has seen several international investors setting up shop in Jamaica.

“I mention these to demonstrate that the kind of investments in multimillion dollars coming to Jamaica tell you that your country is still a place that is viewed with major interests and provides opportunities for a wide cross section of people internationally to be here,” Dr Chang stated.

His call came swiftly on the heels of a similar one made by Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips who addressed a luncheon put on NAJASO at the same venue on Friday.

Noting that even as remittances play a significant role in the injection of foreign exchange to the country, Dr Phillips, who is president of the People's National Party, however, encouraged a stronger emphasis on investment by Jamaicans living overseas.

“I would like to see moves from remittance to investment flows in a much greater degree, because I consider the diaspora community to be a vital source of investment capital that can lift the Caribbean,”Dr Phillips stated.

“At the same time, we in Jamaica need to recognise, and the rest of the Caribbean, that if we could see the diaspora community as an extension of our domestic market for locally produced goods, it could make a tremendous difference to our productive capacity our productivity, our earnings and the scale of wealth in our country.”

NAJASO is a non-profit, tax-exempt, umbrella association of Jamaican and supportive organisations throughout the US and internationally.

In the meantime, pointing out that the tourism sector is booming, Dr Chang said that it is one of the areas in which members of the diaspora could take the plunge.

“Jamaica's tourism is growing exponentially and a major part of investment is happening in that sector. We have set ourselves the target of growing by five per cent in four years and we can even go beyond. Tonight I would like to invite the diaspora and Jamaicans who are here to participate in that activity,” Dr Chang said. “It is an exciting time. We do have challenges, every country has challenges but it is exciting to get involved in what is happening in Jamaica today. We have major interests and investment coming from all corners.”