Find a goal for Jamaica to embrace, says Bill Clinton

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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Jamaica must focus on improving at least one of its systems in order to rise its global competitiveness stated Bill Clinton 42nd US president.


Systems foster development and are the real difference between Haiti, Jamaica and the US, he said.


"The challenges you face are big, rising countries like Jamaica need to build on new systems and resist the destructive forces of interdependence -- crime and drugs. (You have to) find some goal that the country can embrace," he said on Monday in his address at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, adding that improvement is probably hardest for middle-income developing countries. "Haiti has (few) systems. America has great systems and that's what made it strong. But the US needs to get back to the process of continual improvement of its systems."


Jamaica hurt by crime and drugs has seen its international competitiveness falter from 43 in 2006 to 75 in the Doing Business Report 2010, but similarly affected countries such as Colombia rose from 66 to 37 in 2010 following the introduction of a slate of reforms which improved business and reduced drug control.


"It is not perfect but is it better than before. Yes," he stated about Colombia which just four years ago was a worse place than Jamaica to do business.


At the same time the US dropped one spot from three to four and Haiti dropped from 134 to 151.


"You can't have yourself do nothing because you can't do everything," he said about choosing an area of improvement. "Find some goal where the country can embrace."


He later added about tourism: "And don't only work on your challenges but also your strength. There is a reason why people keep visiting the country".


Clinton earlier said that he was "embarrassed that world economic crisis started in US" and that it affected the world.


Clinton was in Jamaica speaking on the topic 'Embracing our common humanity'. This was not his first visit to the island having vacationed here with his wife Hilary. His wife also visited the island earlier this year.


Clinton's brief visit to Kingston was part of regional trip in support of the Clinton Global Initiatives.


After leaving the White House, Clinton established the William J Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence.


Today the foundation has staff and volunteers around the world working to improve lives through several initiatives, including the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (now the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a separate non-profit organisation) which is helping two million people living with HIV/AIDS access lifesaving drugs. Other initiatives are applying a business-oriented approach world-wide to fight climate change and develop sustainable economic growth in Africa and Latin America. The lecture was presented by Whisky Productions, with the support of Digicel, Scotiabank and Supreme Ventures Limited.


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