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PSOJ to demand better governance

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMMark Titus

Western Bureau:

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) says that it is positioning itself to be more vocal on issues affecting national development, and it would be demanding better governance from the party that forms the next government.

"I think the time has come for the private sector to play a more critical role in the future development of our country," PSOJ President William Mahfood said while speaking at a meeting with members of his executive and key stakeholders in Montego Bay, St James, yesterday.

"Our economy is somewhat stable, but it is still on the edge of what I view as a very dangerous place to be.

"The fact is that the Government has never been investor-friendly," continued Mahfood. "We have had different admini-strations, and you can go to the '70s right up until today, where much of the leadership in the country has been more focused on what is popular, more focused on what is going to keep them in power, rather than what are the fundamentals to create the right environment for investment, job creation, and economic growth."

Mahfood said: " I believe that we need to continue to advocate for greater transparency in government, better governance in leadership, and continue the role that the PSOJ has been playing as a voice of reasoning to create a better environment."

According to him, the PSOJ's visit to Montego Bay forms part of an effort to have a greater understanding of the city and the western region, which, he said, was considered "the pulse of Jamaica in terms of economic development".

Added Mahfood: "The PSOJ, especially, has to play a role in understanding what this part of the island has to offer and what it means to continue the growth. We have a big opportunity in the call centre operations, in tourism, and in agroprocessing."

"Another area that many administrations have fallen down on is financial services. A lot of work was done by Eric Crawford and his team to come up with an offshore services business centre, and Jamaica has missed the boat where that is concerned," added Mahfood

Members of the PSOJ executive in attendance included CEO Dennis Chung, PSOJ officer Gary Hendrickson, and Gail Moss Solomon.