Letters to the Editor

No need to beg

Friday, December 14, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

The minister of industry has been asking foreign diplomats to help Jamaica realise the dream of a deep-water port to capitalise on the expansion of the Panama Canal. In doing so he appears not yet to have caught the vision of "Jamaicanisation", a process that began nearly 50 years ago; and which opened up opportunities for Jamaicans to invest in their country profitably and so uplift the economy.

Edward Seaga introduced the idea in the golden era of Jamaica's development; and he backed it up with a range of institutions that are here today to enhance public participation in the nation's economic growth. One of these is the Stock Exchange, of which he said at the launching:

"It is the hope of the government that the exchange will provide the opportunity for private companies to go public, so as to allow members of the community to have a share in the ownership of the means of production of the country... This includes Jamaicans overseas (who wish) to invest in Jamaica - something that the Stock Exchange cannot easily do, but which is a role that can be admirably filled by Jamaican banks opening overseas branches."

Before and since that time, Jamaicans, with and without the Stock Exchange, have conceptualised and successfully completed such major projects as the development of New Kingston, Portmore, Mona Heights, Harbour View, Newport, etc. If a past generation can do that, there is no reason why our own private sector here and abroad, and with a wise government, cannot build the facilities necessary to accommodate ships, construct a dry dock, and reap full benefits from our financial investments, our creative spirit and the sweat of our brows.

Successive governments have found it difficult to think big, as Seaga did and still does. They demonstrate such little faith in their own capabilities and that of the resourceful people of Jamaica. They have become so accustomed to begging and borrowing that it has become a nasty habit that shames us and makes nonsense of the claim to Independence.

Kenneth Jones






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