The PNP shadow minister said Jamaicans need to be assured that these proposals will benefit the sector, stakeholders, and the country at large, and not just a few well-placed individuals. Senator Allen said Jamaica must reset and pivot, as many other countries are doing, if there is to be any chance of survival for the local tourist industry.
“We must not waste the opportunity to start thinking differently and put the country on a new path. Policies that govern the industry must be designed to have a positive impact on our citizens and the country as a whole so that more of us benefit in a real way from investments of all types,” Senator Allen said in a release today.
The Minister of Tourism indicated pre-COVID projects in the pipeline are still on track and new investments are to come.
The Opposition Senator is calling on the Minister to give the country some assurance that these investments will indeed redound more fulsomely to Jamaica and that we will see true linkages from said investments.
“For far too long some tourism operators, especially of large international chains, have been allowed to import the majority of the goods and services for their construction and operation and now is an opportune time for the Government to right the wrongs of the past and enforce stricter rules by which operators must adhere. If Jamaica is to truly benefit from the industry, which according to the BOJ accounts for 35% of the FDI inflows, then we must become more serious about the rules that govern these investments,” Senator Allen said.
She is calling on the government to inform the country and give some assurances that these megaprojects will use a certain minimum percentage of local construction workers and inputs at all levels. Jamaicans, she said, must insist that the investors be required to employ more Jamaicans at senior levels and use a greater percentage of local inputs in their operations, thereby reducing our import bill.
“If agriculture and manufacturing, two of the main linkage sectors, are to help restart the economic engine of the country post-Covid, then we must get serious and design or fix policies to protect the Jamaican workers and the economy. These policies must be designed for the new normal and must be enforced in the strictest sense,” Senator Allen said.
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