Local and international heavyweights in business participate in high-level economic growth forum
The conference dubbed, The Destination Experience Visionaries’ Summit took place at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
The event was designed to uplift the image of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean as an attractive investment and luxury destination.
It was conceived by 31-year-old Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, an architectural designer turned entrepreneur, who was lauded by President Barack Obama in 2015 as one of 75 Emerging Global Entrepreneurs.
Among those who presented at the confab was Finance Minister Audley Shaw. He said many years ago he described Jamaica as a rocket that won’t take off, but noted that the country is now poised for take-off.
Shaw said the Government is beginning to see the fruits of its labour as “unemployment continues to decline, inflation is at historic lows and interest rates are trending down, supported by prudent fiscal and monetary policies”.
With the country’s macro-economic indicators moving in the right direction, Shaw noted that the Government’s mandate to move from poverty to prosperity and to achieve 5 per cent growth in four years are achievable.
There were also presentations from Chairman of Portland Holdings and the Economic Growth Council Michael Lee Chin. In a tutorial-esque presentation, the Jamaican billionaire took his audience to class sharing how he became successful selling mutual funds and how he and his team turned around the fortunes of National Commercial Bank.
Chairman of Fortress Investment Group and New Fortress Energy, Wes Edens, who is no stranger to the island and was instrumental in bringing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the island, said it’s a giant step in accelerating economic growth.
He said the LNG expansion could result in US $1 billion dollar investment.
Other presenters included Orthopedic surgeon and entrepreneur Dr Kingsley Chin; President and CEO of IFS Securities Alex Mckenzie, who operates the largest minority-owned wealth management firm in the US; Peter Blair Henry author, economist and the youngest Dean at New York University; Jamaican-born Marie McKenzie, vice president, Global Ports & Caribbean Government Relations, Carnival Cruise Line; as well as JPS’ Kelly Tomblin.