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Jamaican Diaspora Director Gets In To `Patty War`

CaribWorldNews, SOMERSET, NJ, Weds. July 1, 2009: A director of the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board is slamming back at the Jamaica Manufacturers Association over the importation of patties into the island.

Patrick A Beckford said that like many members of the Jamaican Community in the US North East, he `is completely dumbfounded by the recent statements and protest by JMA President, Omar Azan regarding the importation of Caribbean Food Delight`s patty into Jamaica.`

Azan reportedly recently had slammed what he called `foreign` patties in Jamaica.

`There is Juici Beef, there is Tastee Patties producing and Jamaicans are purchasing imported patties and I find this totally ridiculous,` said Omar Azan, re-elected president of the JMA. `We are having problems with foreign exchange to buy raw materials to produce and employ Jamaicans but yet still we are finding US dollars to purchase imported patties?`

But Beckford said the company Azan is protesting is owned and operated by a `Patriotic Jamaican` and his family, Vincent HoSang.

`Ask all the athletes who have participated in Penn Relays for the past 20 years about Caribbean Delight and the HoSang family, indeed they will tell you sir and all Jamaica that this is the company who feed them and donate on top of this, money to assist in hotel and transportation,` said Beckford. `Royal Caribbean is incredibly generous to the Diaspora Community and to charities in Jamaica .  They have donated close to US$1 million in cash and equipment, including a medical mobile that brings health care to thousands in rural Jamaica.  Just recently, they gave US$30,000 to Father Ho Lung to help the poor in Jamaica.`

He also added that Jamaica has no monopoly on patty and like Minister Samuda explained, is a part of an international community that participates in `free trade.`

`We in the Diaspora love to give back to our `beloved Jamaica ` but Jamaicans must understand also we are importers as well as exporters and indeed organization like JMA have for years neglected what we can offer, in terms of expertise and investments in their individual companies,` added Beckford. `We urge the government to not yield and to our fellow Jamaicans to support  Caribbean Delight, because we are positive that profits from this company does indeed circulates in our communities directly and indirectly. This is shortsighted and selfish of Mr. Azan and the JMA.`

`The Jamaica Manufacturers` Association Limited (JMA) was established in 1947 as a limited liability company to promote the development of the manufacturing sector and increase its contribution to the socio-economic welfare of the country by creating jobs and improving the standard of living for all,` according to its website. `Today, the Association represents manufacturers in all the manufacturing sub-sectors as well as institutions and organizations which provide services to these sectors.`

Azan, managing director of Boss Furniture, was elected unopposed as president of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association. His deputy president is Brian Pengelley, Red Stripe`s logistics operations manager.

In a letter to the Jamaica Gleaner yesterday, Azan claimed that `Jamaicans are missing the point. It is neither a patty war nor an attack on the Diaspora.`

`The recent illustration by the JMA on the importation of patties is intended to build consumer awareness and promote Buy Jamaican … Build Jamaica,` he said.