After reading the Gleaner article “Bartlett Welcomes Starbucks MoBay Investment” I have some concerns. As an International Relations major, I understand the importance of the need for investment within developing countries, especially Jamaica. However, I have a few concerns.
Before I go any further, let me congratulate Mrs Ian Dear and Adam Stewart on becoming franchisees of Starbucks franchise, as franchises require millions of dollars to purchase. Franchises, however, are not new to Jamaica. We have KFC and Burger King. So let us analyse these to make prediction on the coming Starbucks to Jamaica.
KFC and Burger king purchases most of their equipment and materials to be used in the catering process from the real owners of the company.Since the owner are abroad and these payments are made in US Dollars we understand that we are losing US dollars from our economy. Some of these expenses are monthly. For example, the seasons the KFC chicken is imported. Therefore, the economy will always be losing US dollar.
Moreover, since what is being imported in for domestic consumption, then no value is being added to the product for export for our economy to regain lost US dollar. On the flip side, what franchises provide is employment. So, how much persons can one Starbucks directly employ? Also, wages for these workers are relatively low, since the demand for employment is high.
So, who will benefit from this investment? The three parties that really benefit from these venture are the franchisee (the real owner of the company and its economy) and the franchiser. Entities that gets minor benefits are tax administration and the wages from employment. I hope you see why I do not understand why the minister is raising this initiative so much. The Minister basically advertised for the company.
What I am kindly asking the Minister to do is to stop praising entities that are really robing our economy of grow for only person economic growth of a person/group of persons. Instead, identify local brands and assist in the building of them. For example Deaf Can Coffee. This is a non-profit entity that is created and operated by person with hearing disabilities. Do not believe that consequence of their disability they
make a product that is bought “just because”. No. Their coffee teas and cold beverages are unbelievably good and is of great quality! I hope you see why I am a bit perturb by the words of my Minister.
Putting an entity like this in the North Coast would allow tourist to see the resilience of Jamaica, yet getting a brand that represents a group of marginalized people that is rarely listen to. Fine, tourists are accustomed to the brand Starbucks. However, the reason they come hear is for the Jamaican experience! So, let’s use our companies to do that.
Moreover, earnings from this company is staying here and the interface between domestic and international tourist would increase the chances of the company becoming a franchise, others would eventually have to pay to use our company.
To conclude, all I am saying is for our Ministers to stimulate growth through the development of local businesses, and to take a strong approach to do so. America is looking out for Americans, Canada is for Canadians. So, Jamaica should be looking out for Jamaicans. Giving local businesses preferences and grant to grow.
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