Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good living creates employment

Businesses like this generate employment. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

BY JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Observer Column | Monday, November 07, 2011

WE read where a commentator reflected on the cost of a fancy dinner, the plight of the poor and in the end opted for a couple of patties. It all sounds very admirable until you realise that in his figuring, he said he would have given the waiter a $1,200 tip. That $1,200 tip would have probably given the waiter's children bus fare and lunch money for the next day.

It makes us stop and think about events like Caterers' and Restaurant Week. The cynic may flip through the pages of delicious offerings and dismiss them as fluff, but businesses like these generate many thousands of jobs across Jamaica.

How will this economy keep going if we don't keep employers in business? Of course, we shouldn't spend what we don't have, but passing on a few dollars in a store or at a restaurant is like giving way in bad traffic — keep the flow going, keep the stress at bay.

This current political campaigning is like a second Christmas for non-garrison communities — yet another argument against garrisonisation. Wake the garrisons and tell the people — let the politicians court you, not cow you! Let them buy you T-shirts, caps, lunches, dinners and drinks. Let them fix those disgraceful roads and tear down the zinc fences, creating work in the communities. Elections may not pass this way for a very long time again, so "make hay while the sun shines".

Seriously, the gap between rich and poor is getting ridiculous. We have to ignore those minimum wage guidelines and make up our minds to pay our workers properly so they can afford even the transportation to get to work. We have to ensure that our helpers receive proper meals when they are on the job, because Lord knows what awaits them when they get home. The adage that "Charity begins at home" has new meaning now — we have to save the dignity of our sisters. Make sure that what you are offering is a job, not "a work".

Even if you can't create a job, look out for our up-and-coming entrepreneurs. It is heart-warming to see teens now sporting Bridget's sandals. Bridget Brown is a creative Jamaican lady who sent herself to Italy to learn the basics of shoemaking, and has been producing stylish sandals for over 20 years, now supplying a second generation of Jamaican women.

My friend Jan Young Sang is so proud of a friend's Solomon Gundy that she buys lots of bottles as gifts. But that budding entrepreneur has been facing roadblocks. She was encouraged by her admirers to do proper labelling and market her product to the stores. She did so and has been waiting in vain over many months for word on the label from the authorities. Why are we so hard on each other?

We know that buying online is on the rise, but Jamaica is where we live, and this is the economy that needs every dollar we may have to spend. We hope the bureaucrats will simplify their approval processes — supporting local businesses means more jobs. We have great role models. Digicel CEO Mark Linehan commented at a World Project Management Day event on Thursday: "A sense of urgency underpins our strategy. We are constantly seeking ways to challenge ourselves." We need to feel this sense of urgency in the public, as well as the private sector.

Kwame Gordon-Martin
Every politician knows that our government is too bureacratic, that too many procedures are triplicated to keep too many employed, that it's a drain on resources and a waste, that if we are more efficient in service delivery we could modernise our government without increasing spending, etc, etc, etc. Yet no one does anything about it, EVER! When these things change you will know that we have elected serious people instead of the children we have now scurrying about on either side.
Ruby Shim
One of the ways we can increase employment is to support our local industries. Whenever I do my supermarket shopping I always ensure that the products I purchase are locally grown/manufactured. Furthermore, the foods we import are not as flavourful as our home grown produce. I have had visitors from abroad tell me this fact so many times, so why are we buying foreign fruits and vegetables when we go shopping.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Good-living-creates-employment_10096278#ixzz1d8CXexoN

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