Parish stake­hold­ers call for in­vest­ment in BPO sec­tor

Jamaica Gleaner - - RURAL GROWTH, INVESTMENT, JOBS - – J.G.

A COM­PRE­HEN­SIVE in­vest­ment in the busi­ness process out­sourc­ing (BPO) sec­tor in the parish of St Thomas is an av­enue at least one stake­holder has sug­gested as an ‘easy fix’ to is­sues of un­der­de­vel­op­ment in the parish.

Al­meta John­son, branch man­ager at the St Thomas Credit union who spoke as a res­i­dent of the parish, noted that the BPO sec­tor would cre­ate a plat­form for ex­po­nen­tial growth in ad­di­tion to cre­at­ing end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties for youth.

“I do be­lieve that one of the im­me­di­ate fixes for St Thomas is for one of that (BPO) to be es­tab­lished in St Thomas. You can en­ter with a min­i­mum of three sub­jects and we do have per­sons leav­ing high school with their sub­jects. As such, I think the im­me­di­ate fix would be to try and get th­ese per­sons in the sys­tem,” she said while ad­dress­ing jour­nal­ists at a Growth Fo­rum which was held in the parish last week.

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“If they are not even go­ing to stay there long term, but the type of train­ing that they have to go through would at least change their mind­set and at­ti­tude for other jobs in the work­force. It would be good to set up one of that in St Thomas, where at least 1,000 per­sons can be em­ployed.”

Er­rol Greene, sec­re­tary man­ager for the St Thomas Parish Coun­cil, how­ever, be­lieves that dras­tic changes have to be made first if a BPO in­dus­try is to gain any trac­tion in the area.

“At least once a month I have in­ter­rup­tions with my In­ter­net ser­vice, and some­times it goes for two weeks at a time,” Greene said.

“You can’t have a BPO with­out In­ter­net and tele­phone. We have the prop­erty, but a lot of the peo­ple who are com­ing for th­ese op­er­a­tions, they just want to come, plug in and start work. Some­body has to set up the in­fra­struc­ture so when they come in on Fri­day, they can start work­ing by Mon­day,” he pointed out.

John­son also ad­vised that se­ri­ous at­ten­tion be given to the road struc­ture in the parish, an in­vest­ment she be­lieves would open doors for de­vel­op­ment.

“St Thomas is beau­ti­ful. We def­i­nitely have to fix the road be­cause all the is­sues that were men­tioned are in­ter­re­lated. We fix the road, we get our BPO, we get tourists, we get for­eign direct in­vest­ments, and St Thomas will even­tu­ally reach where it needs to go,” John­son said.

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