Jamaica, along with Nicaragua and Honduras, will benefit from a US$36-million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The announcement was made by Ron McKay, President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Jamaica at the organisation’s Business and Civic Leaders Awards Dinner at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last Tuesday night.
“About three months ago USAID approached us and said, ‘Would you be interested in applying for an educational programme that we are funding throughout this region?'” McKay said.
“We are the winners, one of three countries from Latin [America] and the Caribbean, of the USAID regional workforce development programme for US$36 million…between Honduras, Nicaragua and Jamaica,” he announced to loud cheers.
McKay had earlier announced a collaborative initiative between AMCHAM Jamaica and Jamaica Educational Network — a locally based cable network that can be found on Flow and Telstar/Digicel.
“We are going to work on a workforce development programme on Jamaica Educational Television that will not only support your human resources and partners, but will support every single person in Jamaica who is looking for a job and will be staying in Jamaica in the future [to] work and build Jamaica,” AMCHAM Jamaica’s president said.
McKay then asked JPS President and CEO Kelly Tomlin to confirm the mantra of the workforce development programme, to which she replied: “Every job matters!”
“We are going to make sure that we spend all [US]$36 million to create a lot of jobs that matter here in Jamaica, and that means right here in the American Chamber of Commerce and all businesses [represented],” he continued.
Gateway to Cuba and the Caribbean
“We are going to launch, what I’m calling for the first time tonight, CBGI; that’s the Cuban Business Gateway initiative. We are going to take businesses around the Caribbean — our members of AMCHAM — and utilise Jamaica as a gateway for doing business in Cuba…” McKay also stated, capitalising on the announcement as a segue to define AMCHAM Jamaica’s purpose and the opportunities it offers its members.
Prior to the retreat hosted by the United States Embassy earlier this year, AMCHAM board members had agreed to change the way the organisation would engage its members over the next three years, by providing value-added benefits, and to help them deal with the challenges they were facing, McKay explained.
American Billionaire Investor Wesley R. Edens, Principal, Founder and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fortress Investment Group LLC, a US$62 billion alternative asset management, was the keynote speaker at the function.
Edens, whose company is responsible for bringing natural gas to Jamaica , expressed excitement about investing in Jamaica .
Among the winners of awards at the banquet are: Olympics Gold medalist sprinter Ambassador Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce for significant contribution to Brand Jamaica; Kiwanis Club of New Kingston, Civic Leadership Award, small company; SOS Children’s Village, Civic Leadership Award, small company; Jamaica Cancer Society, Civic leadership, large company; HEART Institute of Jamaica, Corporate Social Responsibility, small company; National Commercial Bank, Corporate Social Responsibility, large company; Joseph Matalon, Civic Leadership Award, Individual Category and Father Richard Ryan Holung, Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Awards and Banquet, presented in association with GB ENERGY Texaco began in 2010.
It recognises and celebrates recognition of businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations that have been driving and achieving the economic and social progress in Jamaica through ethical leadership, stewardship, and community building activities.
The president closed by committing himself to the development of each member businesses, which he expressed was the sole purpose of AMCHAM Jamaica’s existence, noting that the organisation is their “passport to growth and prosperity”. With this commitment he also assured member business of access to the AMCHAM network of 28 regional members in the Latin America and Caribbean and 150 countries in which AMCHAM operated, as well as access to Unites States Ambassador Luis Moreno, an honorary chairman of AMCHAM.Complete Registration