Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dennis Lalor’s clarion call

Hon Dennis Lalor OJ - Jamaica Observer Photo
Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column| by Jean Lowrie-Chin | 12 December 2016

Business leader Dennis Lalor has sounded the call for integrity and commitment.  The private sector Hall of Famer gave us a first-hand account of Jamaica’s recent economic history at the 40th Anniversary Luncheon of the PSOJ held last Thursday. He described the downturn in the economy towards the end of the sixties as “the rot of ages”, one that left Jamaica’s economy limping from administration to administration.
After the creation of the PSOJ in 1986 there was intensive dialogue with Government officials as they discussed a way out of Jamaica’s economic slump.  Mr. Lalor’s PSOJ presidency coincided with the second Manley administration of 1989. “What is not publicly known,” he said, “is that a few of us had established a joint PSOJ-PNP working group, while the PNP was in Opposition … a similar initiative was started with the [then] JLP Government but the constraint of government inhibited progress.”

“In fact,” he continued, “the PNP 1989 manifesto included much of these agreed policy positions reflecting the shift, or ‘evolution’ as Prime Minister Manley would describe it.”

This evolution saw the liberalisation of the of the country’s foreign exchange regime, as the former had resulted in “the corruption and illegality of the public and private sectors.” He noted that Prime Minister Manley saw the benefit of his government’s relationship with the PSOJ, and included them in his first meeting with President Bush in 1991, “to demonstrate his rightward political shift… However Mr Manley’s deteriorating health intervened, and the shared policy vision gradually faded, followed by a crisis in the financial sector.”

Mr Lalor’s account of the extensive, data driven voluntary activity of Jamaica’s finest business minds, indicate the unremitting focus of our private sector leaders on Jamaica’s economic well-being. It grieves me that PNP representatives were absent from the signing of the partnership agreement last week, because it contained the word ‘prosperity’.  Social media lit up, with folks asking if we should desist from wishing each other “a prosperous New Year”, for fear of being labelled.  
Dennis Lalor’s contribution to nation-building has seen the steady growth of his ICWI insurance company, his leadership of several other private and public sector organisations, and his King’s House Restoration initiative. He closed his presentation with a clarion call: “It is never too late. And as the country moves forward with its growth agenda, it would be advantageous to also embark on a moral re-awakening, stressing respect for law and order, life and property, commitment to each other, community and country and above all, being able to distinguish between right and wrong, and the determination to do the right thing.”

William Mahfood - LOOP Photo

We use this opportunity to applaud the PSOJ presidency of William Mahfood, one of the kindest, wisest Jamaicans I know, to congratulate the new President the innovative P.B. Scott, and to commend the great work of the PSOJ team, under the keen leadership of Dennis Chung. Happy 40th Anniversary!

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