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Jamaica could become a ‘failed state’

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart does not share the view that Jamaica is a failed state. However, the Sandals Resorts and Jamaica Observer chairman feels the country could become one if the Government does not change its approach to businesses and curtail its borrowing habit. Speaking at the launch of the Observer’s annual Business Leader Awards, Stewart said on Tuesday  the Government had to unburden the business sector through more investment-friendly policies that were “properly thought out”.“I don’t believe that Jamaica is a failed state,” Stewart told business leaders attending the launch, which was held at the newspaper’s Beechwood Avenue headquarters. “I believe, though, that if we continue doing much of the same that we continue to do from an economic point of view then we will become a failed state. You can only borrow for so long.“We keep doing more of the same and continue to expect different results,” Stewart declared.Business sectorHe strongly argued that the Government had to recognise the role that the business sector played in the local economy and address the problems affecting the sector.“The money that we keep borrowing these days to bridge the budget we only borrow it because the businesses are not doing well enough to support the needs of the country,” charged Stewart, who is also chairman of the Government’s investment arm, JAMPRO.“We [Jamaica] are not doing well because the businesses are not doing well,” he said, adding that the country was made up of businesses and “the living standard of the country is only as good  as the businesses”.According to Stewart, a reduction in taxes from the business sector significantly curtailed government’s ability to provide basic services such as the repair of roads. “There is nowhere else to get taxation to build roads, to build hospitals, nowhere else than through businesses,” he said. (Jamaica Observer)