64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Jamaica
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KINGSTON, Jamaica; June 7, 2019: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness noted that while Jamaica’s record visitor arrivals and earnings indicated that Government policy is working and investors see Jamaica as a place to come and do business, bureaucracy is hindering the country’s growth and development.
He was giving the keynote address yesterday evening (June 6) at the official opening of the 48-room R Hotel at the hotel’s rooftop Redbones Blues Cafe in New Kingston and responding to remarks by R Hotel Director Evan Williams that the property took 13 years from concept to realization.
“That is not something for which we are proud and that explains a lot; why we have not achieved the rapid growth that this country is destined to experience,” Prime Minister Holness said.
He said that despite external shocks like rising oil prices, terrorism and climate change, which have had an impact on Jamaica, largely the responsibility for not achieving our true growth path lies with us. “We have to be truthful to ourselves because things that are within are authority, capability and capacity to do well and speedily, we have not done them,” he noted.
The Prime Minister said that to become a modern, growth enabling and supportive public sector we must ensure compliance as a counter to corruption and ensure efficiency to promote growth.
“No wonder our growth is low because the speed at which we are giving approvals, the speed at which our bureaucracy works is not in sync with the speed of business and the speed we need to have in order to grow. If we claim to be the Usain Bolt country of the world let’s take that speed that we have on the track and get our projects on track,” he encouraged.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, noting positive developments in the local tourism sector, announced that for the first time in history Jamaica welcomed some two million visitors in the first five months of the year and earned US$1.7 billion in revenue.
Minister Bartlett said that the R Hotel represents the new drive in Jamaica not only to increase numbers but also to add value to the experiences of visitors who come here. Noting the serious efforts to retain more of the tourism dollar in Jamaica he commended the R Hotel for supporting local suppliers by outfitting the hotel with Jamaica-made furnishing and by promoting local culture and food through the hotel’s Gene Pearson Gallery and Red Bones Blues Café.
“This is an exciting part of this retention strategy that we have because when the supplies that the tourist consumes are bought, brought and produced in Jamaica then the dollar remains here. This has resulted in an increase in retention from 30% to 40.8%,” the Tourism Minister said.
In his remarks R Hotel Director Joe Bogdanovich said the opening of the hotel brings with it new possibilities for the expansion of Brand Jamaica through business tourism in the capital. “Kingston has enormous potential for both business and conventional tourism and we in the industry must continue to innovate in order to make Kinston the premier city to conduct business in the Caribbean,” he told the large crowd of tourism stakeholders and private sector and government representatives.
R Hotel is the city’s first extended stay business hotel. The newest addition to Kingston’s room stock is a collaboration between noted architect Evan Williams and entertainment mogul/investor Joe Bogdanovich.