Address by Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Official Opening of ‘Empowerment Park’ Established by Juici Patties at Clarendon Park in celebration of the Company’s 35th anniversary
July 10, 2016
When the representative from the National Council on Drug Abuse came up and he was diverting into discussing marijuana, I was thinking is he going to suggest that Jukie Chin make marijuana patty. I am not recommending it Jukie and of course Mr. Rudyard Spencer another Member of Parliament in this parish, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests this is truly a lovely evening as we gather to celebrate the magnificent achievement of Jukie Chin and Edith Chin and their family.
I am very impressed. I have always admired the growth of this business from afar and though you may not believe me, there is scarcely a time that I come to this side of Jamaica and I don’t stop to get my patties. You see my security details are shaking their heads because if the line is too long at the drive thru, they have to go and stand in line inside because no matter where you go, whether in Jamaica or the diaspora you can know a Jamaican when you see them with their patties. I don’t know one Jamaican who does not like patties. So effectively the patty is part of what defines us as Jamaicans. It is part of our culture; it is now part of our heritage but what we have seen today it is now part of our economy. And this is the key message I would want to deliver.
Recently I spent a few days in Guyana and while there I took some time to walk around their capital city and there was a scent that was just waving through the air in the town and I was immediately transported back to Jamaica. It was the scent of the patties being baked, coming out of the oven and into the square and I said (sniffs) “Is there a Jucie Beef Patty here somewhere in Georgetown, Guyana?” I whispered to Jukie a while ago and asked him is there a store – a franchise in Guyana. He nodded “Yes there is a franchise in Guyana.”
Guyana recently discovered oil, one of the largest deposits in that area and you know Guyana is approximately the size of Germany. Germany has somewhere between 70 and 80 million people and Guyana has less than a million, 850,000 people. Guyana has gold, it has incredible hydro potential, it has resources multiples times what Jamaica could ever consider so Guyana within the next 20 years will be a booming growing country.
That has me now thinking as the man who has the responsibility to move the country forward, what will be our oil? Where is our hinterland of gold and silver and marble and other natural resources? What is it that is going to in the next 20 years drive the development of our society, guarantee employment for our people and the prosperity that we have been struggling for as a people for many years? We must conclude, we must all agree that the resource to drive us that is going to make us develop has to be our people.
It has to be that the government invests in our people. It is the people that will be our gold and our diamond and our resource to guarantee us the economic growth. People like Jukie Chin and what is so special about Jukie; he had a dream and he pursued it. He is a natural entrepreneur. He took a risk. He invested, but more than that he was faithful to his dream. With all the hardships that you would have experienced doing business in Jamaica you never gave up. You persevered.
One of the resources that we need to develop in our country is the entrepreneur. We need more people like Jukie Chin. But in contemplating how we are going to grow as a country, the secret to growth in this era is not having natural resource. The secret to growth in this era is innovation. In other words the countries that are going to grow rapidly in this era will not necessarily be the countries with resources. It will be the countries that can create, innovate and add value to resources. The critical element in that is the entrepreneur.
Jukie, I will say this to you and it might surprise some of you in the audience. I know it won’t surprise Leahcim Semaj who is listening keenly and would probably write an article about what I am saying today. Do you know that the largest taxi company in the world does not own a taxi? Uber. Do you know that that largest movie companies in the world does not own a cinema? They sell everything online.
Business has changed so the next layer of business development and growth is not so much about owning the actual production; it is now owning the rights and the ideas because that is now the value of your business. I want to see you Jukie grow this business right around the world and make it a global Jamaican brand. Invest in the quality of the business which you have been doing and use that quality to leverage other products so that when you see the name Juici you know what it means and the quality and value that it conveys.
The secret to growing Jamaica is growing businesses and growing businesses that have ideas, businesses that can innovate and businesses that will reinvest in the country because for us it is not so much now about our GDP; the Gross Domestic Product that we consume here. It is about our GNP, the Gross National Product – what Jamaicans go abroad in other markets and other countries and produce and repatriate the wealth back to Jamaica in as much as people come to Jamaica and invest and after 2 or 3 years send back the profits to their home country.
We want more business men like you Jukie. Businessmen who are going to stay true to commerce, true to enterprise, stay invested in their business, create employment but also businessmen who have a social conscience who recognize that they alone can’t prosper; that prosperity means that everyone around you must benefit and feel as if things are improving. This is what you have done here and this is why I like what I am seeing and it took me a little while to figure out why the name Empowerment Park but I see what you’re doing. It is about empowering our Jamaican people.
Let them see by your struggle, your work, your enterprise and industry that they too can become prosperous in their little endeavor so the little man making the drops or the grater cake or my favorite the parched peanut where I can’t pass it on the road. Excellency, I don’t know if you have that taste as well but you will see me stop on the corner and again to the great chagrin of my security detail stop and buy that parched peanut which you can’t get that taste anywhere else in the world and will somebody just create that product that it can go global as another Jamaican product.
This is our oil. These are our resources and it is from these things that we are going to grow so today I want to congratulate you. A Jamaican hero really, a businessman who has started from humble beginnings and you have not lost your humility. God has blessed you. May God continue to bless you and your family. The entire Jamaica is proud of you.