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Seprod Group CEO Richard Pandohie is calling for stronger economic ties between Canada and Jamaica, urging the North American country’s leaders not to see the island as just a quest for donations.

He was speaking at an event at the regional headquarters of the University of the West Indies in St Andrew’s yesterday, where Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister for International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, asked the question, “How do you think Canada can play a role in shaping Jamaica and this region to advance sustainable economic growth?” »

Responding to Ng, who arrived on the island on Wednesday for a two-day visit promoting 170 mostly Caribbean small businesses, Pandohie noted that Jamaica can bring value to the table.

“I want Canada to see us as a partner. I think we (Jamaicans) bring value to the table and we always have to remember that…. We have amazing people. We have the right language and we have easy access…” said the former president of the Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Jamaica.

“There are many countries like Canada, [which] have also benefited significantly from the people who have been trained here and you then benefit from exporting without investing in a development. I think that’s something that needs to be looked at very carefully. If you want people, you want expertise, how are you part of the educational process? Because you benefit from the end result, so those are the things I’d like to look at…. These are the areas of opportunity,” said Pandohie, who sat on a panel with Allison Peart, president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica, and Dr. Gervan Fearon, president of George Brown College in Canada.

“We have students; the knowledge base … . I’m glad you’re here, Minister, and that you see us as partners and not looking for handouts.

“Absolutely…” Ng said in response. “The deep relationship that exists between Canada and the Caribbean, Canada and Jamaica, I think there is a lot to build, and listening to the valuable advice and just this dialogue from the panelists, … I think there is certainly has things we can build from and into the future.

Peart said she would like to see more aid given to Jamaica in the form of health services, infrastructure and clean energy.

“How can Canada help? In many cases, we talk, but we don’t act. Going back to what you’re saying, Richard, we need knowledge sharing partnerships so that we can transfer knowledge to Jamaicans, not just to tell us, but to show us so that we can do it,” said Peart said.

“Where we need Canada’s help is on the technological front of sharing knowledge to make people understand that every human being should eat. Every human being needs to drink water. How do we ensure we are efficient with our farming practices [and] with our water harvest? Peart added.

Fearon said he would like to see Canada help Jamaica develop in the transportation sector.

“I think some of the things that need to be done in the future and the role that Canada can play also involve two examples, one in the transportation network – 21% of imported oil is used in transportation. [sector] and that means that going forward, as we look at electronic vehicles (EVs) and the like, 87% of the electricity in Jamaica is generated by petroleum. This therefore means that while there will be carbon savings from the use of electric vehicles, without the infrastructure to take advantage of this technology and these vehicles, Jamaica will in fact not be not able to meet its own carbon emissions standards and like it, and I think Canada can support Jamaica in terms of investment and technology transfer,” he said.

In March, Canada donated an electric vehicle charger to the Jamaican-German Automotive School, bringing the institution one step closer to launching a training course on installing and servicing electric vehicle motors.

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