MONTEGO BAY, St James — As part of a vigorous pitch to potential investors to do business in Jamaica, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Senator Aubyn Hill on Tuesday said now is the perfect opportunity for the creation of a nursing school.
This, he said, will turn the ongoing exodus of nurses from the country into an “opportunity”.
The minister was speaking at the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference being held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.
“Jamaica is ripe and ready for a very modern, well-equipped nursing school,” he said, pointing to the number of the country’s nurses who have found jobs in Britain and the United States.
“That’s not a brain drain — that’s an opportunity,” Hill said in delivering the event’s opening address.
“Investors, come on down! Build a nursing school here, help us use our hospitals to train them,” he appealed as he gestured to those in the packed meeting hall. “It’s a great opportunity because at the Summit of the Americas… [US] President [Joe] Biden was very clear: We want to help you train 500,000 health workers in the next five years.”
On Tuesday, in addition to opportunities in nurse training, Hill also rattled off a long list of previously announced potential investment opportunities that the Andrew Holness-led Administration is dangling in front of investors. These include opportunities in special economic zones, sports via a planned stadium in Trelawny, agriculture, the creative industry, pharmaceuticals, and tourism.
“You want an investment? This is the hotel capital of Jamaica. [Tourism Minister] Ed Bartlett and the prime minister are putting in another 6,000 rooms in the next year or two. We need one on campus,” he said as he urged investors to consider building a 250- to 350-room hotel on land available near the event venue, the Montego Bay Convention Centre. He made a similar pitch for rooms to be constructed near the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
Invest Jamaica 2022, which continues on Wednesday, has more than 600 registered participants from more than 50 counties. On day one, panel discussions will cover topics including global digital services, logistics, manufacturing and tourism.