A good first step in encouraging investment, Prime Minister
Chief executive officer at K and T Development Jamaica Limited Kenneth ‘Skeng Don’ Black (left) showing Prime Minister Andrew Holness the site for the construction of a BPO complex in Mandeville on Thursday. (Photos: Kasey Williams)

Dare we hope that we are seeing the dawn of a new day in the way business, particularly with the Government, is conducted in this country? It’s too early to bring out the Champagne, but certainly we have taken note of Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s declaration that his Government is committed to supporting investments without any thought of political discrimination.

Mr Holness is spot on in his statement that politics has divided Jamaicans for too long. In fact, the divisive nature of our politics has, over many years, denied too many Jamaicans opportunities that could have led to them living a better life.

That type of behaviour is by no means unique to Jamaica, but that cannot excuse the fact that it happens here and as such we need to confront it and make every effort to remove it because it has left an ugly stain on the country and, truth be told, is a gateway to corruption.

Just because someone supports a political party, which is their right, does not mean that that individual should be starved of work when his/her political opponents are in office, even when it is accepted that the person being denied employment is qualified and can actually do the job.

We have seen too many instances over the years of individuals being placed in positions, or awarded contracts, based solely on the fact that they are faithful to the political party in power. The country needs to divest itself of that mindset and get to the point of meritocracy.

If Prime Minister Holness truly shares that vision, then what he did in Mandeville last Thursday is a step in the right direction.

For those who missed it, Mr Holness attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a $1.2-billion business process outsourcing (BPO) complex being constructed by Mr Kenneth “Skeng Don” Black, who is well-known as a strong supporter of the Opposition People’s National Party.

Mr Black is the chief executive officer of the planned K&T Development BPO complex at Bloomfield on the outskirts of the Mandeville town centre.

Mr Holness’s presence at the ceremony no doubt raised eyebrows in our very polarised society. However, he stated quite clearly, “I am here because it is important to show that the Government has a duty to support everyone, regardless of affiliation, association, class, colour, creed, religion.”

His Government, he added as he commended Mr Black for the project, “must ensure that there is equal opportunity for everyone in Jamaica and that we create a level playing field for all businesspeople”.

That, we know, is music to the ear of investors who make decisions after carefully studying how societies function and whether appropriate laws are in place to protect their investment.

Mr Holness has signalled that his Government is willing to take a quantum leap to change the culture of this often burning issue of investment. People who wish to invest in Jamaica should hold him to his invitation to talk to him if they wish to help build the country and if they share his Government’s vision to see Jamaica grow.

Commendations on a good first step, Prime Minister. Now on to the journey.

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