3000 BPO Jobs Coming to Portmore; Conduent Takes Xerox BPO Business

Prime-Minister-Holness-and-other-stakeholders-break-ground-for-new-Portmore-BPO-company
Prime-Minister-Holness-and-other-stakeholders-break-ground-for-new-Portmore-BPO-company

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), breaks ground for the development of 150,000 sq. ft. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space at the Portmore Informatics Park in St. Catherine on February 16. He is joined by (from left): President and CEO of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Professor the Hon. Gordon Shirley; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang; PAJ Chairman, Ambassador Nigel Clarke; and Portmore Mayor, His Worship Leon Thomas. The US$23 million project is being implemented by the PAJ and will create 3,000 jobs. Photo courtesy of JIS.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness broke ground at the Portmore Informatics site yesterday (February 16) to start the construction of a new Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) company in the Portmore Area. When completed, the 150,000 sq. ft space is expected to provide 3000 jobs.

According to a release from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) the US$23 million project, being implemented by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), is expected to be completed in one year.

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony at the Park in Portmore, St. Catherine, Mr. Holness said the commencement of this project represents the Government’s commitment to cutting through dense bureaucracy for the fast-tracking of critical programmes.

“My job is to reach into that deep pipeline of projects and rip them out…to cut through the dense bureaucracy that sometimes becomes self-serving and get to this point,” he added.

The Prime Minister further said the Government remains committed to the expansion of the BPO sector as one of the faster ways to create employment.

“The aspiration and the ambition to get Jamaicans employed is a serious one and the Government must move with alacrity, determination and instrumentality to provide employment for our people,” he said.

“Employment is the greatest tool in fighting crime and the greatest tool in bringing prosperity to our people. Employment is independence in our hands and that is what I am here to do,” Mr. Holness added.

The development of the Portmore Informatics Park forms part of a wider project being advanced by the PAJ in support of the Government’s vision to expand the outsourcing sector to realise a goal of 200,000 jobs within four years. A total of $4 billion is being spent on the development in Portmore as well as on work now underway in Montego Bay, St. James.

Expected BPO Services Sector Growth

Chairman of the PAJ, Ambassador Nigel Clarke, said the BPO sector is being targeted as one of its strategic growth areas in order to fulfil the agency’s mandate of facilitating development that support the growth agenda of Jamaica.

He said with the BPO services sector expected to grow by over 50 per cent, the PAJ is responding to those prospects and keeping pace with rising demand.

“Today’s ceremony represents another step towards the achievement of market leadership within the sector and it provides support to the national growth agenda,” he noted.

The PAJ has pioneered work in BPO sector development since 1987, through the agency’s Montego Bay Free Zone and the Kingston Free Zone. The agency manages accounts for some 10,200 employees within the outsourcing sector in  Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, urged all Government agencies to collaborate in leading the charge to expand the BPO sector, which he said provides a diverse set of professional options.

He said the Government is committed to ensuring that Portmore and other similar communities can be involved in the growth of the sector and gain meaningful employment.

Portmore Informatics Park…. finest BPO Destination? – Dr Chang

“Portmore is an ideal area…with a huge population of educated, capable Jamaicans looking for jobs and if we provide the opportunity and the training, they can in fact, make Portmore Informatics Park one of the finest destinations for Business Process Outsourcing,” Dr. Chang said.

The new BPO company will join two other BPOs already operating within the growing Portmore commercial district– IBEX Global, which now occupies 10,000 square feet of space in Portmore Pines Plaza, owned by Mount Royal Development Ltd, and ACS XEROX, located in Naggo Head.

IBEX Global Jamaica has two operations- Kingston and Portmore– from which it hires sales, customer service and technical support talent for its call centre operations.

Conduent -Xerox Split Leads to take-over of Business Process Services from XEROX; Staff  Dislocated in Portmore

Photo-of-ACSXEROX-building-located-in-Naggo-Head -Portmore-St Catherine

ACS Xerox, Naggo Head, Portmore

 

Xerox, the world’s largest printing and software solutions company with headquarters in Washington, USA hires about 6,500 Jamaicans and has been the private sector largest employer since establishing in the year 2000.

But recently, the company was in the news after RJR News announced that it had cut staff cuts at the Portmore branch. Portmore Citizens News has since learnt that the action was part of a separation between Xerox and Conduent Incorporated.

Conduent disclosed in a news release dated January 3, 2017 published on its website that the US -based Fortune 500 company had completed a separation agreement with XEROX at the end of 2016 and launched as an independent publicly-traded business processes services leader.

The move was apparently driven by Conduent as part of a major cost transformation programme which it’s CEO announced will “streamline the business, improve margins, and enable investment into growth opportunities.”

“Under the terms of the separation agreements, on the distribution date of Dec. 31, 2016, Xerox shareholders received one share of Conduent common stock for every five shares of Xerox common stock they held as of the close of business on Dec. 15, 2016, the record date for the distribution,” the Conduent release stated.

It was not clear whether staff who lost their jobs at the Portmore location would be relocated or reemployed, although when asked, a XEROX employee told this blogger that the disclocated staff would be reemployed. PCN was unable to confirm this.

Over 4,000 new jobs have been added to the BPO sector within the last three years to increase employment for about 22,000. Revenues from the industry grew from approximately US$230 million in 2012 to US$400 million in 2015.

Portmore Informatics Park is located at 7 East Trade Way and is located closest to the Maxie Department Store.

 

ibex

IBEX GLOBAL, Portmore Pines

 

 

 

Greater Portmore North Councilor, Michael “Fisha” Edwards laid to rest

fisha-programme

 

 

The late Michael ‘Fisha’ Edwards, Councilor for Greater Portmore North Division and businessman was laid to rest on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

Hundreds of persons, both politicians and constituents from the Portmore and St Catherine municipalities, along with representatives from the Opposition and ruling party hierarchy, friends, family and well-wishers turned out to pay their last respects and celebrate the life of the well-known public servant and Portmore resident at the funeral service held at the Portmore Seventh day Adventist Church, 7 Port Henderson Road.

Mr Edwards was eulogised by fellow councillors, PNP party representatives and family members in numerous tributes as a consummate professional and a peace-loving and amicable individual with a ready smile. One of the most moving tributes was reportedly delivered by Member of Parliament, Fitz Jackson who shared many fond memories of his friendship with Mr Fisher. The homily was delivered by Pastor of the Portmore SDA Church Pastor Sean Hamilton.

Mr Edwards reportedly died from a stroke on January 6. Family members found him unconscious at home and rushed him to the Spanish Town hospital where he was pronounced dead. A close friend and political peer, MP Fitz Jackson revealed that Mr Fisher had been hypertensive and diabetic. He had also reportedly done brain surgery a few years ago, but had “showed no signs of illness up to the time of his death.”

Michael Edwards, a chartered accountant by profession, entered local government representation in December 2007 when he joined the Portmore Municipal Council. Up to the time of his death, he was the sitting Councillor for the Greater Portmore North Division. He also served as Chairman of the Planning, Development and Climate Change Committee in the Portmore Municipal Council. Prior to that, he served as  Chairman of the Finance Committee at the St Catherine Parish Council. The late Portmore native was a St Georges College Old Boy and the owner/operator of Fisha’s Sports Bar located at the Portmore Pines Plaza.

Mr Edwards was interred at The Dovecot Memorial Gardens.

He is survived by his widow, Sophia and children.

 

Below are photo highlights of the final rites.

Disclaimer: All photos were curated from the results of Facebook Search and the public domain. Credit is hereby given to the respective original owners.

 

PNP leaders pay tribute to the late Portmore Councilor Michael Edwards.

St Catherine South MP, Fitz Jackson (centre) shares his fond memories of the late Michael ‘Fisha’ Edwards. He is joined in tribute by MP, Greater Portmore East Yvonne McCormack (left) and Opposition leader, Portia Simpson Miller (right) at the funeral service held this past Sunday at the Portmore SDA Church. Sitting in the front row (back to camera) is PNP Chairman, Robert Pickersgill.

 

 

pm-at-funeral

Former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, other government representatives and family of the deceased listen attentively during the funeral service.                                                                                                                                                           Photo Credit: Kenisha Allen

 

 

crowd-at-portmore

Section of the funeral crowd who turned out to pay respects to the beloved councilor at Sunday’s funeral.   Photo Credit: Arnaldo Brown

dovecot-turn-out

The interment scene at Dovecot Memorial where Councilor Fisher was laid to rest

 

julian-robinson

Cecile McCormack, Manager-Implementation & Logistics, Community Renewal  at the Jamaica Public Service Co. shares a light moment with  Julian Robinson, PNP Member of Parliament  for South East St Andrew at Sunday’s funeral service for their fallen comrade. Photo credit: Cecile McCormack

 

funeral-attendees

From Jamaica Labour Party Councillors Kenisha Allen(Spanish Town Division), Theresa Turner(Hampton Green Division) (2nd right) and Jennifer Hull (Horizon Park Division) (far right) grabs a friendly photo with PNP MP Denise Daley (2nd left) at the funeral service of the late PNP Councillor, Michael Edwards.                                    Photo Credit: Kenisha Allen

 

 

arnaldo-brown-fisha

Former PNP Minister of State/ Portmore MP, Arnaldo Brown shares a light moment with two of his constituents at the Dovecot Memorial Park.                                                            Photo Credit: Arnaldo Brown

 

fisha-girls

Sophia Edwards, widow of the late Michael Fisher Edwards (centre) caught in a candid moment by the graveside at Dovecot Memorial Gardens.              Photo Credit:

 

Photo of Councilor Fisher with wife Sophia Fisher

Councilor Edwards and wife, Sophia in happier times. The couple had recently celebrated their 13th anniversary. (Photo taken from Mr Edward’s Facebook page)

 

Report compiled by Karen Taylor Bennett

Council’s Greater Portmore “Cactus Garden” in Dire Need of Attention

On Monday, Portmore Citizens News took these photographs of the area outside the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex designated and landscaped as a green space by the Portmore Municipal Council several months ago.

As seen in the photos below, the current state of the once attractive cactus stone garden is not being regularly maintained, judging by the litter composed of plastic, debris and household garbage now piling up in the area. Bundles of cut dried grass which was never removed by the weeder have become litter mounds. The once aesthetically pleasing landscape details featuring cacti plants, boulders and rocks and a walkway is now hidden under a brown, dirtier, untidy version of what it was.

Who are responsible?

So who is responsible for this? These are several possible culprits. This vicinity is a frequent hangout spot for students from nearby schools. Across the road is the bus stop where commuters also await the JUTC buses as they enter the Greater Portmore bus bay which is just behind the complex.

Across the road is the bus stop where commuters also await the JUTC buses as they enter the Greater Portmore bus bay which is just behind the complex. Vending activity takes place in close proximity. Someone has also decided this was the best place to dump their old clothes and household garbage, so some illegal dumper (s) need to be exposed as well.

The area also gets a lot of foot traffic from commuters who make their own shortcut pathways to get to the Junior Centre, Library and Post Office housed on the Civic Centre Complex after disembarking from the route buses and taxis that travel along the busy West Henderson Boulevard adjacent to the park. It is not fenced.

Maintenance Staff and Schedule

The area is now in need of attention. We hope the Mayor will see this and send the relevant authorities to clean up. A better idea would be to put a regular maintenance schedule in place for the area. If the Council can harness community volunteers to do some of this maintenance work, it could probably curb the littering from residents.

Litter Campaign addressing Users

An on-site litter education campaign to directly address the frequent users of the area like students and commuters who may be responsible for the high numbers of plastic drink bottles in the area would be a practical move. Get the schools involved. Maybe the Junior Centre’s children can put a programme together to get the message across in an entertaining but serious manner.

Finally, may I also recommend that the Council put in garbage containers or attendants to pick up garbage daily and fence off the area as well. As for the persons dumping garbage, it may be ambitious but necessary to install some security cameras in the vicinity to see if we can catch these culprits as well as criminals.

 

growing garbage heap in middle of Greater Portmore green space

In need of maintenance. This photo taken on Monday shows the growing pile of litter and plant debris that now defaces the landscaped oval, a project done by the Portmore Municipal Council months ago.

household garbage now litters landscaped space in Civic Centre Complex, Greater Portmore

Someone decided to dump their household garbage in plastic bags smack dab in the middle of the recently created green space in the Oval at the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex across from the Shopping Centre.                                                                                          – PCN Photo

 

neglected-stone-gardengrportmore

Cactus plants and grass appears untended.                                                           – PCN Photo

 

Cactus stone park Greater Portmore defaced

This created green area which was landscaped by the Portmore Municipal Council in the months leading up to the National elections is in dire need of attention. The area which is in front of the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex is now littered with drinking bottles, debris and even bags of old clothes someone dumped there.                                     – PCN Photo

The Mack Said What? ‘Hope-Full’ Quote of the Week

Image of Desmond McKenzie, Local Government Minister

Portmore Citizens NewsMaker This Week: Hon. Desmond McKenzie, Jamaica’s Minister of Local Government and Community Development. Photo credit: jis.gov.jm

The Words

Extracted from CONTRIBUTION TO THE SECTORAL DEBATE 2016-2017 by Hon. Desmond Anthony Augustus McKenzie, Minister of Local Government & Community Development, June 22, 2016

Source: JIS

“Emerging from the recently published findings surrounding the Hanover Parish Council in particular, I have taken note of opinions by some commentators that the Local Authorities, generally speaking, should be shut down. That is not the policy of this Administration.

I am a son of Local Government. I have served as Councillor and Mayor, and I know first-hand, the positive impact that good representation can have on people’s lives at the community level.

Local Government touches lives in a real way, every day, whether it is well or badly run. I will use my talents, experience, and the collective talents of the partners within Jamaica and internationally, to make local government an efficient, accountable organ of service to every Jamaican.

Let me admit however, that the image of Local Government and that of the Local Authorities in particular, has been shaken and battered by the very serious revelations in the Special Reports of the Contractor-General, which have been tabled in this Honourable House.

The public is aware of the actions I have taken in relation to the Hanover Parish Council. They are a clear signal, Mr. Speaker, that this Administration, and this Minister, will not stand aside and allow breaches of the public trust to occur, under the banner of “autonomy”. The Local Authorities are accountable to the Minister under law, and I intend to lift the standard of accountability and of service that they are to provide.”

Why I like this Quote?
Positive sentiments such as his faith in local government representation, commitment to returning accountability to governance and the value he seems to place on building public trust comes across clearly in the Minister McKenzie’s speech. While it may all be good speech-making rhetoric, he’s saying it publicly, and will be judged for those words publicly too if he fails to deliver.

That said, his past role as Mayor of Kingston, I think, has showed that he is a man who stands for law and order and that he is fearless in achieving it. If there ever is a man who walks his talk, it’s Desmond McKenzie. He may not be the most likeable fellow, his tone and language is too astringent for some folks, but the Mack is convincing as a politician who takes his public office seriously.

As an preamble to his Presentation in the Sectoral debate on Wednesday, these launching words were priceless. . . and hope-full (mispelling fully intended).

Get out the way Tuk-Tuks, the Mack is ready to rumble.
Read the full speech here: June 22 Sectoral Presentation by Hon. Desmond McKenzie

Can the Minister deliver on his potent words? Leave a comment below.

 

Bio

Karen Taylor is a Portmore-based blogger and freelance writer. Contact her at taylor-karen@hotmail.com