Jamaica is a perfect nearshore market, says Dr Dunn
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Norman Dunn (left) interacting with chief executive officer of coffee manufacturer Jamaica Standard Product John Minott Jr after tasting one of the company's products at the Manchester Giants exhibition at deCarteret College in Mandeville last Thursday. (Photo: Kasey Williams)

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Norman Dunn says Jamaica is becoming more attractive to investors for mega projects, and has encouraged local entrepreneurs and companies to grow with the changing times.

"A lot of people [investors] are looking at what they call nearshore markets — markets that are not far from where they are," he said, explaining that because of what took place during the pandemic, and [likely] logistical issues in the future, "Everybody is now looking at everywhere that is close to them because people need to survive and thrive, so they are looking at these nearshore markets," Dunn said in his address at the 'Manchester Giants' exhibition at deCarteret College in Mandeville, last Thursday.

He said that Jamaica is "a perfect" nearshore market.

Manchester Giants exhibition conceptualiser Annette Salmon (Photo: Gregory Bennett)

"We are just an hour and twenty minutes from the largest market in the world [United States]. We have one of the largest natural harbours in the world. We are in a shipping lane that most mega ships going on to different places pass — so Jamaica sits at a pivotal point where we can benefit from so many things," opined Dunn.

The junior minister pointed out that the country needs to look into new industries for economic growth, following the downfall of traditional sectors such as bauxite.

"Bauxite will not be here forever, and we have seen that. We were hoping for that large plant in Nain would have been back up by now but it is not, for all the reasons that exist, but we have so many other things to be great about," he said.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Norman Dunn (second right), Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western Mikael Phillips (left), Manchester Giants exhibition conceptualiser Annette Salmon, chief executive officer of coffee manufacturer Jamaica Standard Product John Minott Jr (second left) and Damion Holness of Holsum Bakery pose for a photo at the exhibition at deCarteret College in Mandeville, last Thursday. (Photo: Gregory Bennett)

Down the years, south-central Jamaica depended on the bauxite industry which had provided thousands of jobs prior to the closure of two refineries, namely Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart at Nain in St Elizabeth and the now-mothballed Windalco Kirkvine alumina plant in Manchester.

Dunn commended conceptualiser of the Manchester Giants exhibition, Annette Salmon for staging the event and showcasing long-standing companies in agro-processing, among other industries, as part of Jamaica 60 celebrations.

"I really hope that Annette will take this not just for here, but take it elsewhere so that people can see what it is that we are trying to build as a country," he said.

Dianna Tomlinson, general manager of Pickapeppa Sauces introduces Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Norman Dunn to two of the company's products at last Thursday's Manchester Giants exhibition at deCarteret College in Mandeville. (Photo: Kasey Williams)

Salmon, in agreeing with Dunn, lauded the work and contribution of long-standing companies.

"This is one of the reasons why I decided that the 60th anniversary of our country could not pass without us sticking a pin and saying 'Thank you' to these giants, because long before [now] they were blazing the trail with Brand Jamaica," she said to her audience consisting mainly of business leaders.

Dunn, meanwhile, encouraged Jamaicans to grow with the changing times.

"Whatever we do and did before cannot be the way forward… if you want to become wealthy for your children," he said.

"We must create that atmosphere for people and those things to help people achieve that potential that they have. We believe that every Jamaican is a giant. Every Jamaican, given the opportunity, can be a giant," he said in reference to efforts being made by the Government to help entrepreneurs.

"… At the end of the day here I hope that it is not just about showcasing what we have but to learn from these experiences — and these experiences should push people further to become giants of their own," said Dr Dunn.

BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

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