Joe Issa Urges Continued Good Governance for Corporate and National Growth

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As 2017 emerges from the twilight of a year he characterized as a landmark in the recovery of the Jamaican economy, member of the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce Past President Advisory Committee Joe Issa is urging continued good governance, stating “it pays for your business as well as the country.”

Submitted: February 09, 2017

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Submitted: February 09, 2017

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As 2017 emerges from the twilight of a year he characterized as a landmark in the recovery of the Jamaican economy, member of the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce Past President Advisory Committee Joe Issa is urging continued good governance, stating “it pays for your business as well as the country.”

“2016 was a very good year for the economy…all the indicators suggest that while we have much work left to be done, the economy has started to recover.

“You can tell by the big increase in the money supply in December, that confidence had returned, so I am urging companies and institutions to continue exercising good governance in order to sustain the growth we have seen so far last year,” says Issa, executive chairman of Cool Corporation, one of the largest retail conglomerates in Jamaica.

Issa’s views are backed by the major business watchdogs. The Jamaica Manufacture Association has highlighted the downward trend in inflation and exchange rate movements, among others, while the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce acknowledged growth in tourism and Business Process Outsourcing, also among others. Noting that it is cautiously optimistic, the island’s chamber said “we are starting to see growth…increase in the money supply means more confidence in the economy.”

Said to be no stranger to advocating accountability and integrity in governance Issa once suggested that politicians enter into a pack with the constituents whom they are asking to vote for them. The idea, which became known as ‘The Issa Initiative’ was famously supported by both political parties and the island’s Chambers of Commerce.

Despite not having been implemented Issa’s idea was highly praised by the country’s main newspapers for its landmark quality, with the Gleaner calling it “a watershed in Jamaica's political culture”.

Big on governance, he famously mediated a conflict which had the potential of unsettling the island and its governance structure. The country’s powerful 13 chambers of commerce had threatened to march to parliament if a tax on street lights, which the business community would have had to pay, is not rolled back. Having been chosen to represent the chambers in their dispute with the government, Issa successfully negotiated the rollback of the tax.

Stating that good governance is not only for governments, but importantly, for the business community whose performance is linked to its governance structure, Issa says, “When you exercise good governance, communicating frankly and widely, being accountable and exercising transparency, all else being equal you will succeed, as well as the economy.” And Issa is not alone.

General Manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Marlene Street-Forrest has also encouraged local companies to pursue best practices in governance as one means of achieving not only individual corporate growth but also to produce better economic conditions for Jamaica.

In urging firms to embrace the philosophy that good governance is the bedrock of sustainable development and longevity, she said, “Good governance and profitability are the cornerstones of every great company, and we believe that this drives profitability.”

Professor Neville Ying, chairman of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Best Practices Committee, also alluded to the connection between governance and success. In explaining the reasoning behind the renaming of the Governance award under the Chairman’s, he says, “The fundamental aim of this renaming was to lift the profile of this award to reflect the growing importance of corporate governance in the sustainable development and success of businesses.”


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