KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday April 28, 2016 – The Jamaica Government will appoint a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Review Commission, aimed at positioning the country to take full advantage of the benefits of membership in the regional group.
“I think the time has come . . . to assert ourselves in such a way that Jamaica gets the benefit of CARICOM,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said yesterday.
The Prime Minister implored the country’s entrepreneurs and other members of the business community to think of CARICOM “as our market, and we are going to stake our claim in our market.”
He pledged that the Government would become even more assertive in ensuring that Jamaica’s business people are able to access the common markets of CARICOM.
And Holness advised entrepreneurs, in particular, “to take action” in seizing the marketing opportunities within CARICOM.
“We may not be able to compete because of the cost of energy, but we must be able to compete because we have a better tasting product, because our products are packaged better, and we have tailored a product that meets the needs of the consumer,” the Prime Minister said.
“So, we may not always have comparative advantages, but we must also develop and emphasise our competitive advantage as well.”
Holness was speaking at the unveiling ceremony for new equipment installed at International Biscuits Limited (IBL).
The SEPROD Group of Companies, of which IBL is a member, has invested J$285 million (US$2.3 million) in upgrading the IBL facility with state-of-the-art food manufacturing equipment, including the latest oven technology.
Chairman of SEPROD, Paul Scott, said the new oven would allow the company to produce 50 per cent more products for Jamaica, and will “drive volumes onto the supermarket shelves in the rest of the Caribbean”.
He said the increased productivity would lead to significant market penetration in the CARICOM market.