Senator Janice Allen wants to hit the ground running

Western News

Senator Janice Allen wants to hit the ground running

BY ONOME SIDO
Observer West writer

Thursday, September 24, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James -NEWLY minted Opposition Senator Janice Allen, who was on Monday named spokesperson on tourism by Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips, says she is ready to take on her new role.

“I am honoured to have been asked by the leader of the Opposition to serve as a Senator and Opposition spokesperson on tourism. I am approaching [the role] with a very open mind and attitude, with absolute readiness to serve,” she told the Jamaica Observer West.

Allen is attributing her latter appointment mainly to her vast experience in the tourism industry.

The Montego Bay native, who has worked in several public and private institutions including Jamaica Tourist Board, Jampro, Digicel and Cable & Wireless, brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.

“The matter of tourism is nothing in this time to take lightly; there is a whole lot at stake. I am mindful of the realities we are now faced with and therefore can't, and won't approach my assignment as a one-woman band. If I learnt one thing from working with all those whom I have been fortunate to work with, [it] is that we can only advance when we seek to collaborate and when we seek advice from those who are more knowledgeable than us. It is important I seek advice and counsel and as such, I have started to reach out to experts in the respective areas of the industry who I will consult with and be guided by,” she told the Observer West.

“I believe Dr Phillips and others in the leadership of the party would have, over the years...whether at the national level or local level, seen how I approached my work as well as my dedication to whatever I am involved in....all my experiences have prepared me for this moment and my only true responsibility now is to deliver and to continue to apply the same dedication and professionalism that I am known for.”

No stranger to politics, Allen told the Observer West that her “time in Government ha[s] been strongly shaped by public servants” in the tourism industry.

“Politically I have worked with Francis Tulloch, former Member of Parliament and minister of tourism; Portia Simpson Miller when she was minister of tourism; Ambassador Aloun Assamba when she was also tourism minister...for a short while, John Junor; Wykeham McNeill; and also for a short time Minister [Edmund] Bartlett. My longest stint was with Dr McNeill both in the Ministry of Tourism as his senior advisor and regional director of the Jamaica Tourist Board,” Allen revealed.

Allen spent her childhood years in the resort city, where she attended Montego Bay High School. At the age of 16 she was relocated to the United States of America to pursue a bachelor's degree - a strategic decision by her parents which led to her current career as a marketing and international business professional.

After achieving her first degree at Florida International University in 1994 Allen matriculated to the University of Massachusetts, where she earned a master's in business administration. She returned to Jamaica 1997 as an advisor to the minister of tourism.

Not be placed into a box, Allen says her network expands outside of tourism, adding that “it will allow me to incorporate other points of view as we all seek to recalibrate and repurpose the business of tourism”.

“I'm excited about where I have been placed. I am Granville girl...from Montego Bay and very proud of it...I believe in building and I hope I will do my parents, grandparents and entire family proud by contributing in this way. I believe in community and think it is very important that we all play our part to making our communities better,” she declared.

She stressed that she would like to see more women participating in the political process.

“I would love to see more of us participate in the political process as it is very unfortunate that so few of us see it as important to not only vote, but be involved and help to shape our country today and for the future,” she said.

“I am mindful of the task at hand, but more so encouraged by the fact that I have the opportunity to give more of myself to my beloved Jamaica.”


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