Shaw backs Chinese

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw has come out in robust defence of Chinese investments in Jamaica, telling business leaders here that criticism of such major projects as highway and road development is “irresponsible”.

Pointing to road improvements now taking place across Kingston, last year’s completion of the North-South link of Highway 2000 and other planned highway projects, Shaw said that, “when people come and criticise the Chinese investments that are taking place it is irresponsible. These investments not coming from anybody else; the Americans aren’t doing it …”

Shaw was speaking on Saturday at a quarterly parish chambers’ meeting hosted by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce at the Mandeville Hotel.

Last year, former Cabinet minister and current Opposition spokesman on Industry and Commerce Peter Bunting joined those criticising aspects of Chinese investments in Jamaica.

In a statement issued then, which sought to clarify initial comments on social media, Bunting said that locals were at a disadvantage, especially in the construction industry, since Chinese investors are “State-owned enterprises against which local Jamaican contractors cannot be expected to compete effectively…”

There has also been strong criticism from worker representatives and from sections of the trade union movement that Chinese employers are often in breach of Jamaica’s labour laws and conventions.