Profit over life? A response

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I read the letter to the editor, titled 'Profit over life?' in the Jamaica Observer of Tuesday, October 16, 2018, written by JR Grant and, although I wholeheartedly agree that many of our citizens need to give more importance to legal requirements and government rules, I would like you to consider a different angle to the one taken by the letter writer.

I believe a lot more needs to be done to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Jamaica, and this includes fully supporting small and medium-sized businesses and taking their concerns seriously.

Why is there so much crime and violence? There are many reasons. Yet, we can probably all agree that the lack of job opportunities, and therefore lack of future perspective, is a great issue that needs to be looked at when trying to solve Jamaica's crime problem.

The cost of living is consistently rising; wages are not. And in the face of rampant unemployment we need to salute and congratulate those who take matters into their own hands and start businesses. These businesses not only raise the value of the area they live in, they also offer employment and mean one more family can send their kids to school, one less youth on the street, etc.

We need to take the business operators who complain about earlier closing times seriously. I would stipulate that, contrary to what Grant wrote, these business owners do not believe “profit is more important than life”. They, like a great number of business operators, are perhaps merely trying to break even. They are trying to keep their business alive. Their business equals their life.

We need to do more to help business owners and entrepreneurs to run successful, profitable and scalable businesses. For what will these business operators do when they are sky high in debt and their backs are against the wall?

The value of states of emergencies (SOE), as an effective tool to combat violence and crime in the long run, is highly debatable. However, let's make sure that the benefits of our current SOEs at least outweigh their costs.

Anna Alissa


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