Letters to the Editor

...and must include the people

Monday, November 12, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The recent International Monetary Fund review mentioned that “supply-side reforms to facilitate private sector investment are needed to achieve higher, sustained growth and job creation”. I would like to suggest that we seriously review our investment strategies to focus more on sustainable development and growth of jobs and incomes.

Tourism, in particular, has focused on developments that involve foreign direct investment largely in “all-inclusive” resorts or enclave tourism developments which exclude the majority of our locals from even coming in contact with the tourists, except as direct employees in the hotels, attractions and shops.

Port Antonio and Falmouth are examples of how not to develop our major ports, as the long-term benefits to the people of those towns have been denied as we have created “enclaves” with walls around them to keep out the locals and provide a “safe” environment for the visitors.

Tourism planning and development must now be designed with the maximum involvement of the people in the communities, so as to ensure we are planning and investing in sustainable developments which are maximising the benefits in terms of economic, social and cultural development of our people.

The financial models for development must also ensure a greater opportunity for local investors to own a major stake in the developments. All future divestments of our main assets must be designed to allow our locals and members of our Diaspora to have the opportunity to invest.

I can see no objection to having foreign lead investments, but when we divest our major assets such as our airports, seaports and critical beaches to foreign investors, without reserving a portion to attract locals, we leave ourselves in a position where all the profits are exported.

Local investors who have done detailed planning for Port Royal to be a model sustainable development area to benefit the community, the time is now ripe for us to develop this jewel for ourselves and invite strategic partners to come to the table to ensure we do a truly Jamaican development.

Robert Stephens

rspragma@yahoo.com

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