At a time when nations are looking to find ways to claw their way out of poverty and create better opportunities for their people, it is critical that those with whom we have given the power to act on our behalf, do so responsibly.
Jamaica has no oil like Guyana now discovers it has, neither do we have hi-tech companies bringing in tens of thousands of new jobs.
What we do have is tourism, which is a highly competitive industry that is beholden to worldwide eventualities.
Aluminia is a raw material that is plentiful around the world and therefore insufficient for us to depend on.
We all understand the vulnerability of local agriculture, our food may be more wholesome but we cannot compete when it comes to price.
So what we are left with, is our proximity to the Panama Canal and the possibilities inherent in that proximity.
Jamaica is geographically ideal for becoming a massive trans-shipment hub as a result of its proximity. Whether we find ways to exploit those possibilities is totally up to Jamaicans. We have the 7th largest natural harbor in the entire world.
As a transshipment hub, Jamaica will see a whole industry of possibilities spring up around that infrastructure, potentially creating tens of thousands of high paying jobs and improving the lives of our population, as well as injecting valuable foreign exchange into the national economy.
Drug dealers and other transnational criminals have always understood the importance of this geographical proximity.
Fortunately for Jamaica, we now have a political administration that is conversant and attuned to these logistical possibilities.
The present administration has been forward-leaning and has begun to cultivate and nurture relationships and investment opportunities. If allowed to develop, those relationships will present immense economic opportunities for the nation and the Jamaican people.
Unfortunately for Jamaica, we have a political opposition that has mastered the art of subversion, a tactic it learned from the ’70s and has stuck to it as a means of gaining and holding political power.
The People’s National Pary has demonstrated that the sole reason for its existence in Jamaica is to be in power to enrich its functionaries.
It is for this reason that Jamaicans must understand the damage the PNP has recklessly done to the Palace Resorts deal negotiated by the Palace subsidiary, Puerto Caribe Properties Limited with the UDC, without one scintilla of evidence of wrongdoing or corruption.
Palace Resorts is a Mexican hotel chain that has the vision to see the future need for infrastructure in a rapidly changing world. And so they entered into a deal to build hotel infrastructure.
The deal with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) was to build in the town of Ocho Rios, a multi-billion-dollar hotel property.
As a result of wild and unsubstantiated aspersions of corruption by the leader of the PNP Peter Phillips calling for a forensic audit, and other PNP functionaries including Lambert Brown, Palace Resorts has scrapped the deal and is demanding that the UDC now buy back the land sold to Palace Resorts.
It is absolutely shocking that a political party could be so inherently irresponsible and downright reckless.
It is perfectly logical and proper for an opposition party to be vigilant on behalf of the people. To ensure transparency in Government. To ensure that there is fidelity in the process.
It is not the duty of the political party to look to create chaos in the public sector to better its chances at the polls.
It shouldn’t be that the political opposition gets to cry fire in a crowded theater and walk away from the bodies left trampled in the resultant stampede.
I call on the leader of the opposition Peter Phillips to present to the nation the evidence he has of corruption in the deal that was negotiated.
I call on Lambert Brown, present to the nation the evidence you have of corruption that has resulted in this deal being scuttled.
I call on former Contractor General Dirk Harrison, to explain how he arrived at the conclusion that the sum that the property was sold for was below market value.
Not just that it was below market value, but that if verified to be below market value, it was so done for corrupt reasons.
In the interest of common sense and clarity, sometimes a deal may be done on the front end for lesser value in order to secure the deal. This is easy to understand because securing the deal will potentially yield incalculable windfalls on the back end.
I have no information whether or not my theory is applicable to this case, much less whether the property was sold below market value, to begin with, as property value is usually both subjective and subject to myriad issues.
I urge the government to take this issue to the people and let it be known what this reckless action by Phillips and his bunch of regressive idiots have cost the country.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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