Let's take Jamaica back from violence, says investor


Let's take Jamaica back from violence, says investor

Joe Bogdanovich: We can do better, united as a people

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, December 17, 2017

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ENTERPRISING investor Joe Bogdanovich is urging Jamaicans to work to end the violence and take back control of the country.

In a speech, which received rousing applause from guests at his annual Christmas party Thursday night at the home of his DownSound Records (DSR) music label, Belmont Road, St Andrew, Bogdanovich asked the audience to “accept the fact that we are a nation in a time of need”.

“We can do better united as a people and a country. To take responsibility for our future, we all must stop the violence. Don't know how yet, but collectively stop it and don't participate in any of it,” he begged.

Bogdanvich noted that in November he had launched a new, non-profit company, Caribbean Love Now, created out of the need to address the widespread devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, which severely damaged a number of countries and territories.

“In a matter of days, a group of us flew to Dominica, Antigua and Anguilla to assess the damage and speak with all three prime ministers,” he noted.

He said that as a result of those actions, in the following weeks he and his team were able to put together infrastructure allowing them to deliver one 40-foot container of basic relief supplies to assist the affected countries.

He said they were able to send a second container with reconstruction supplies shortly after, and have prepared a third container to be shipped shortly.

In addition, he noted that they were able to produce the November 22 reggae/dancehall/gospel 'Jamathon' benefit concert, which was arranged by himself and two of his companies – DownSound Entertainment and Reggae Sumfest — and supported by the Government and brand partners in Jamaica, to accumulate funds for the relief, rebuilding and recovery effort in the Hurricane-ravaged Caribbean islands.

The concert was televised throughout the Caribbean and streamed globally for additional donations and awareness.

“This is how we, as Jamaicans turn a negative into a positive for not only ourselves, but for the Caribbean as a region and for the world to witness,” he told the Christmas party crowd, which included government ministers Edmund Bartlett and Delroy Chuck, and several leading names in business and entertainment.

“This was a big effort and we feel privileged that so many artistes, sponsors, citizens and government ministries came together and gave their full support to help those in need,” Bogdanovich said.

“This is a big move for Jamaica, which activates a positive image for our country and brings hope, assistance, goods and cash to our Caribbean brothers and sisters in a time of need,” he said.

“This is a sign of what we at DownSound Entertainment and Argyle Industries are about. And when I say we, I think of all of us in this nation,” he added.

Since he arrived in Jamaica in the mid-nineties, Bogdanovich, who hails from California, where he studied film and business and ran a concert production entity before moving here, pursued his love of the local culture, especially its dancehall aspect.

Not only has he invested heavily in the country's music and concert sector, but since December 2015, when he teamed with Marcus Richards to form Argyle Industries, Bogdanovich has been investing in other kinds of businesses, including Hardware & Lumber, which the Argyle Group bought from GraceKennedy.

He believes that Jamaica has great promise for economic development, threatened only by the level of violent crimes.

He noted that within two years of acquiring Hardware & Lumber, his company has increased revenues by 30 per cent and net profit by 60 per cent.

Its next big investment, which was the annual music festival Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, increased local attendance by 35 per cent within its first seven weeks of operation and added 20 million live viewers on the streaming platform, giving the brand the biggest following in the history of reggae music festivals.

The popular investor says he is urging all Jamaicans to follow his lead and learn to respect the country and the culture with which they are blessed.

“Take time to educate our brothers and sisters and show that we, as Jamaicans, are as special as we can be. Show the love. Spread the devotion. Let's make a difference together,” he said.

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