Monday, August 31, 2009

Heed the tried and true

Stewart... "we have to put more people to work"

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | Monday, August 31, 2009

It is beyond me, why we are struggling so hard as a nation, when we are sitting on a veritable gold mine.
We are the homeland of Usain 'Lightning' Bolt, immortalised on a huge chunk of the Berlin wall, venerated by China, one of the most celebrated citizens of the planet. Puma has estimated his media value to be euro238m or J$35.7 billion. We are the undisputed sprint factory of the world with stars like Shelly-Ann 'Pocket Rocket' Fraser, Melaine Walker, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.

Legendary entrepreneur Gordon 'Butch' Stewart suggested on CVM's Direct last week that the Jamaica Tourist Board should ask Usain to be the spokesman in a commercial about Jamaica, showing off his beautiful country. How hard is that? Let's do it! Well do we remember Usain's remark to Bryant Gumbel on HBO's Real Sports. When asked if he wanted to live abroad, Bolt gestured at the Trelawny seacoast and asked, "Why would I want to leave this?"

In a discussion on RJR's Beyond the Headlines with Dionne Jackson-Miller, we explored the power of Brand Jamaica. Mark Wignall had suggested over a year ago that the Trelawny Stadium should be renamed in honour of Usain, and I asked if Puma had been approached to sponsor a running track there. Zachary Harding had the excellent idea of a Negril Beach Sprint when he was at the Tourist Board - we hope it has not been shelved.

We heard the prime minister's plea to public servants to hold strain, but we would also like him to tell the young entrepreneurs in YEP (Young Entrepreneurs Programme) to give full rein to their creativity. I believe there must be a reason why our Maker chose to plant on our tiny Jamaica, such extraordinary talent in the arts, athletics and business.

We know that the road to the successful implementation of any project is fraught with corruption, petty-mindedness, and incompetence. This is why we remain the most studied and least productive country in the Caribbean. I have seen good ideas shunned because people would not allow anyone to look brighter than them. I have seen ideas stolen and given to inept friends and relatives. I have seen ideas mocked by people who were not competent enough to judge or activate them.

The most important thing our leaders can do right now is to listen to those persons who have shown the courage of their convictions, who have invested where no one else has dared to go, and who themselves have earned the respect of the world for their brand. 'Butch' Stewart has the credentials, so let's heed him. In the CVM interview with Garfield Burford, he said we should give credit to the Government for "the mere fact that we are still standing". He observed that over the years, "Jamaica has sold or mortgaged everything we have" and that Government now has to be bold and creative.

Mr Stewart said that the most urgent task was to encourage the expansion of existing businesses and the starting of new ones, so that employment can be created. He is also asking the authorities to find ways for taxation to be added "at the back end rather than the front end". He suggested that this system was harming our competitiveness, and explained, "People don't want to buy taxes, they want to buy products," giving the example of vacation destinations that cost less because of a more thoughtful system. The world renowned mogul said that he believed the Government to be business-friendly but that they had found themselves in a "terrible position".

"A country is no more than a multiple of businesses, big and small; they generate the taxes for the government to collect," he opined, "so we have to put more people to work." Mr Stewart expressed the hope that as a nation we would place less emphasis on borrowing, and more on productivity.

(click on title for full column)


8/30/2009 10:02 PM
Jean; Jamaica will have to stop being "the place where good ideas go to die". The idea of business creation is one thing, realising them amid the mind-bogeling beauracracy is another.

One Love!

Alvin L.
8/31/2009 2:40 AM

Jamaica is slowly becoming a mirror image of African nations which choose to live and die with the old ways rather than allow the young and talented to shine!

If you look across the political landscape in most positive thinking countries you will notice that there is a high turnover within the political sector. In Jamaica, observe that the same people from 40 yrs ago when a lot of us were in High School are still there and refuse to move on so that the younger , brighter minds can flourish!

Jamaica is ripe for fresh minds and positive improvement, however that will only be a figment of our imagination until the worn out rhetoric and failed tired old Politicians retire and allow the youth to take a stand!

Jamaica, Land we love!

8/31/2009 5:58 AM
Jamaica has to think globally due to the limited resourses of the Island. Our bauxite industry has died, sugar has died, banana...died and I could continue. We need to take Jamaica to the world and stop relying on the world to come to Jamaica. Just like we did in the recent sporting activities we need to do the same in business. Rather than trying to attract investors to our troubled Island, why not take things Jamaican to them. No only do we have the best sprinters but our food his highly appreciated also. Not one Jamaican food chain franchise exist outside of Jamaica. Island Delight attempted but for some reason recinded. It high time we take a look at the various nationalities that has chosen to migrate to our Island and do business and reverse the situation. The Chinese are here, The Koreans are here, the Pakistanis, the Indians and the list goes on. Wise up Jamaica its time we attack the world and stop waiting on them to saturate us. Can you imagine what a Jamaican fast food franchise could do in China or India. For every American food franchise in Jamaica we should have a corresponding parallel over there. Granted there are a lot of individually owned entitities in the US, but nothing stands out notionwide. Come on Jamaica let us connect the success of our athletes to our food. We can run with it.

8/31/2009 6:29 AM
Now everybody and their granma are on the Boltmobile.Why not go furher uncle Butchie and call the ouster of Bruce Golding and instate Bolt as prime minister?That's just our problem,we're a nation of "wagonists",waiting for some miracle to happen or manna falling from heaven,rather to channel our energies in building a nation that is prosperous,and does not depend on "things of the moment",then wilt away once the "high" is gone.
Rev. Dr. Joan Porteous
8/31/2009 7:33 AM
Jamaica worship two dead men, one in music and the other in politics. If I take the Air Jamaica Plane five times for the month I see both The Late Hon Michael Manley and The late Hon Robert Nesta Marley on the monitor of the airplanes. 'Can a dead man praise GOD?' (Psalm Holy Bible KJV). No wonder so many funeral homes in Jamaica, Jamaica only worship the dead. Gives no promotion to the living artists and men and women of good will. Is it that Jamaicans worship the dead? Is there no vision beyond the lives of these dead men?. It is time to use living beings to advertise Jamaica. A living musician or athlete, A living Prime Minister.
Be transformational in your leadership and create an environ through the change process that embrace innovation. With respect to the dead, dead men cannot be creative nor innovative, only living men can have vision

8/31/2009 8:03 AM
Our present goverment need to take a look at this aspect of Thailand. Inward investment is encouraged and rewarded, but the Thai do not sell off the land, the earth to these inward investors. As I understand it, no individual or group of individuals from abroad can own a piece of Thailand out right. You may part own a part of it for a period of time, that is all. In other words Thailand belongs to the Thai people. Jamaica now belongs to the British, Americans, Russians, the Spanish everybody owns a piece of Jamaica except for the Jamaicans. What are we leaving for the babes in arms? For future generations? As far as I can see, only a ghetto. The same apply to businesses, Every inbound investor should in my opinion be made to partner with a Jamaican business no matter how small a percentage, to stop all the profit leaving the island. As the dollars are earned, so are they transferred out, it is like cutting your main vein and allowing your life blood to seep out. That is what is happening to Jamaica right now. Just like in the days of manual slavery, only this time it is more effective, and it is done with the blessing of our governments. Some will say we do ot have Jamaican business people capable of partenering with the inward investor from Germany or Chaina, I say this is a lie. They are there but they are prevented from being seen to be successful. That is why some of them go to USA, Canada and other parts of the world to managed theirs and other nations affairs. We have the talent, skills and drive, what we lack is the decipline and the support of our people's government, a thing that we can develop. One last note, is it time to dismantle the All-inclusive, or atleast limit their growth. All-inclusive is the death of Jamaica. Other country of the world successfully entertain tourist without all-inclusives, again Thailand, USA, England, Spain spring to mind. Are we so different, or is this the way our government want it. What would be nicer that to see visitors walking along our streets, frequenting our bars, restaurant, shops, churches on a daily basis and spreading their hard earned cash among the common people. Can you not see the face of Jamaica changing? I can and I'm not a business man.

8/31/2009 9:05 AM
I wonder if Rev.Porteous read what she had written.Is it not a fact that she along with other followers support and worship a dead man.Please stop your hypocrosy.every day you preach that we should all follow this dead man and we all will be saved and all things will be added unto us.One of our greatest downfall is that we talk through two sides of our mouth so we live in squalorinside a sixty million dollar house.

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