Monday, 2 October 2017

NEWS FEED: J’ca moves up in Global Competitiveness rankings + Digicel appoints first J’can-born CEO + Ambassador Audrey Marks reports on bolstering US ties

STATE OF AFFAIRS: For Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, efforts to safeguard and advance our interests in Washington have to be intensified. “As I now prepare to start my second year in the post, we are again refocusing our emphasis on the Jamaica-USA bilateral relationship, including our trade and investment engagements. The embassy in Washington will continue to be involved with the working groups that have been formed to implement the strategy,” the diplomat reported in a recent column. What are her primary areas of concern? “The potential threat to the population of the US and the Caribbean (based on our close geographical space) from infectious diseases is an area of concern. In addition, the negative impact of deficient health care has also been cited as a contributor to the stagnant productivity in the Caribbean. This includes the capacity to respond to natural disasters.” 

STEPPING UP: Justin Morin is the new CEO of Digicel Jamaica. Taking over from David Butler, who is returning to his native Ireland after a 10-year sojourn in the Caribbean, Morin is the first Jamaican national to be appointed to the post. He previously worked in the Middle East with Saudi Telecomm and spent seven years at GraceKennedy, starting in 2000. Joining the Digicel family, Morin will have oversight responsibility for al operational matters. “It’s an exciting time for Digicel and our customers, and I’m looking forward to working with an already fantastic team to deliver a superior network, compelling content and amazing experiences to our customers,” Morin says. Adds Digicel Caribbean/ Central America CEO, Vanessa Slowey, “I am confident that Justin will take Digicel Jamaica to the next level, ensuring the best communications and entertainment experience for all our customers.” 

KEEPS GETTING BETTER: According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2017/18, Jamaica is the most competitive country in the Caribbean. At the same time, Jamaica climbed from position number 75 to 70 in the annual rankings, per the report, which was published in the World Economic Forum. It’s the sixth consecutive year that Jamaica has improved its ranking on the list, thanks to improved access to health and primary school education, as well as improved financial markets and labour efficiency. The country’s biggest challenges cited by the report include crime and theft, corruption, taxes and access to financing, inefficient government bureaucracy and poor work ethic in the labour force. Heading the list are Switzerland, USA, Singapore, the Netherlands and Germany – declared the most competitive countries in the world.

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