Jamaica Gets Down to Business

Nov 30, 2007

After years of malaise, Jamaicans are hopeful that a new government will bring a change in economic policy. The private sector welcomes early encouraging signs.

Jamaica went into September elections saddled with crippling debt, rising unemployment and a crime epidemic. The hurricane that added insult to injury may have been the undoing of the ruling People's National Party, but the private sector is hopeful that a new administration will make a difference.

"Jamaica is just too rich to be so poor," says prime minister Bruce Golding, whose Jamaica Labour Party won a very tight race to end 18 years in the political wilderness. "Jamaica must not only be open for business but ready and anxious for investment," he told a rapidly convened post-election economic conference in early November.

The occasion was a national planning summit entitled "Jamaica Tomorrow," organised by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica. All of the Caribbean nation's private sector entities were represented, as well as the majority of the new government ministers, key civil servants and the Bustamante Industrial Trade...

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