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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » THE “THINGS JAMAICAN” SHOP AT KINGSTON’S NORMAN MANLEY AIRPORT IS CLOSED DOWN!

THE “THINGS JAMAICAN” SHOP AT KINGSTON’S NORMAN MANLEY AIRPORT IS CLOSED DOWN!

 By Balford Henry—-

 Inside a Things Jamaican store—-

MINISTER of I n d u s t r y , Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, has confirmed that the Things Jamaican shop at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) has been closed, and the future of the brand is being reviewed.

In response to questions tabled by the Opposition Spokesman, Karl Samuda, Hylton told the House of Representatives on Tuesday that the board of the Jamaica Business Development Center (JBDC), which has been managing the operations since 2001, took the decision to close the shop, after conducting an assessment of its commercial viability.

Karl Samuda

Karl Samuda

“The entire Things Jamaican operations (all shops included) has accumulated losses totaling $24.1 million as of August 31, 2015, of which the NMIA shop accounted for $10.7 million,” Hylton said.

He said that, additionally, as of August 31, the NMIA shop had an outstanding obligation of $184,854 for property costs that is owed to the Airports Authority of Jamaica.

“The Airports Authority is engaged in efforts to privatize the NMIA, and requires that the outstanding obligation be met, or that the shop cease operating at the airport,” Hylton stated.

He said that the NMIA privatization efforts precipitated the decision to close the shop at the airport.

Anthony Hylton

Anthony Hylton

Asked by Samuda if the ministry is examining the possibility of reopening the facility in the future, Hylton said that his ministry is conducting an analysis and assessment of the Things Jamaican operations, to determine the best plans for its future.

“Indeed, this analysis and assessment is being carried out as part of the recent strategic planning and budget retreat efforts of the Ministry. It is expected that the management and board of the JBDC will be completing this strategic business planning and budgeting effort, to inform the decision going forward by the end of the month or early December 2015,” he added.

He said that there was no plan to close other shops, but the ministry intends to prepare a comprehensive proposal on how to position the Things Jamaican organisation, to ensure that it can play its developmental role with respect to the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) while, at the same time, limiting the losses that the government incurs.

He said that the ministry and the management of the JBDC are actively looking at a number of options that have been recommended for the Things Jamaican brand, and additional work is being carried out to inform the decision on the future of the organisation.

“The government understands the importance of the Things Jamaican brand and the urgency with which the matter must be addressed. The future of the Things Jamaican brand is being looked at as a matter of priority and we expect to arrive at a decision in short order,” Hylton said.

Airport:Kingston

Things Jamaican has been synonymous with quality Jamaican-made art and craft products, since its establishment in the 1960’s by the then government and the Social Development Commission (SDC), with the main purpose of bringing structure to the craft industry in Jamaica. Its main functions have been to re-organize craft development in Jamaica, and promote the craft sector through research, design and marketing of high-quality Jamaican hand-made products, for both the local and tourist markets.

A training center was established at Bumper Hall, Spanish Town Road, which formerly housed six productions units, with the focus on wood, pewter, straw, leather, weaving and ceramics. From this facility local artisans were trained in the six primary areas, and production output to the market was greatly improved, whilst providing income for these persons.

However, the Bumper Hall operations closed down in the1990s. The premises now houses the Horizon Adult Remand Center, which opened in 2002.

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