News

J'cans to be sensitised on logistics hub through islandwide road show

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, February 17, 2014    

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Francis Kennedy says discussions are now underway with the Government for the staging of a 'Road Show,' geared at sensitising the public about the benefits and opportunities that can be derived for the much-touted Logistics Hub.

"We need to take the issues all across Jamaica, and to inform and educate Jamaicans from all walks of life just what it is that we are saying when we talk about the island of Jamaica as a logistics centre," Kennedy said.

He explained that under the planned initiative, his organisation would be working alongside a number of public sector entities and the parish chambers, in taking the message islandwide.

"If we want to have the buy-in of all Jamaicans, we must do this and do it well," Kennedy emphasised.

"So what we are thinking is that we will have a mobile unit that will travel parish by parish, city by city, town by town to bring out the message to the people about what the logistics hub is all about."

Kennedy was speaking Saturday at the Parish Chamber Quarterly Luncheon Forum at the Royalton White Sands Hotel in the parish.

He later told the Jamaica Observer that he expects the road show- which should last for about seven months- to get underway in May, adding that funding for the initiative would be provided by "the multi-laterals."

Earlier, Kennedy told the business leaders that the logistics hub initiative could be the single most important move to revolutionise the country's otherwise stagnant economy.

"At the JCC, we embraced the idea that successfully re-positioning Jamaica as a leading logistics centre is a potent economic game-changer. We believe it is one of our last, best hopes," he stressed.

He warned, however, that the project will only be successful if "some very definite actions that we need to take" are done on a timely basis.

These, he said, include: Identifying, through focussed research, the most advantageous industry segments; developing partial-scope trade agreements with target countries; introducing of legislation that will facilitate activities, planned for the hub; establishing a resolution to the uncertainty surrounding the timing of the introduction of competitive energy rates, and organising and co-ordinating public sector and private sector resources to ensure that the country's human resource can take the jobs that will be created in the hub.

"These areas have been listed because they represent specific types of interventions that are required if we are to make the progress that we want, and if we are not to give up ground to the several other countries in the region who have made no secret of their desire to position themselves as logistics nodes," he argued.

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