Private sector encouraged to seek opportunities in Haiti

KINGSTON: Former Prime Minister and Special Representative of CARICOM on Haiti, P.J. Patterson, has encouraged the local private sector to become familiar with the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti.

Patterson made his remarks while updating local business leaders on the progress of plans to redevelop Haiti following the devastating earthquake on January 12, at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and Jamaica National Building Society last week.

Patterson disclosed that a three-phase plan developed by the Haitian government was accepted in New York at the recent Donors Meeting. He said there was also international acceptance that Haiti must lead the reconstruction process and that CARICOM support would help the earthquake-ravaged nation.

He further informed that a Multi-Donor Reconstruction Fund has been established as well as an Interim Haitian Reconstruction Commission. A grouping of United Nations member states, international institutions and non-government organizations also pledged US$9.9 billion at the donor conference.

Patterson said there were a variety of opportunities the Jamaican private sector could take advantage of as it helps in the massive redevelopment program about to be undertaken in Haiti.

He cited opportunities for professional and skilled workers, such as engineers, architects and management consultants. He said Jamaica was also positioned to be a key provider of goods and services and that there could be co-operation in areas of agriculture, light manufacturing, development of small businesses, tourism, trans-shipment and transportation.

“First of all, I would suggest that anybody who is interested get a copy of this Action Plan for National Recovery and Development and read it. Look at the areas where you have an interest. Secondly, I would suggest that you develop an inventory of capabilities, not just for Jamaica, but for the rest of CARICOM,” said Patterson.

Patterson also recommended that local professionals liaise with their counterparts in the region, and informed that Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce has offered to host consultation with Caribbean counterparts.

“I think somewhere within the private sector you probably should try to identify at least one individual who is going to be able to ferret and funnel all the information which is required for groups that want to invest or participate in the development of Haiti,” he said.

A copy of the plan can be accessed through the United Nations’ website, and Patterson announced that the document, as well as other related information, would be placed on his office’s website, which should be up within a week.

Patterson was appointed Special Representative of CARICOM on Haiti following the earthquake, which resulted in the deaths of more than 250,000 Haitians. His main responsibilities are to advocate on behalf of Haiti, facilitate reconstruction and development efforts and ensure continued interface between CARICOM and Haiti. (JIS)

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