The island of Jamaica is making a concerted effort to get itself noticed in Canary Wharf. Its tourist board has sponsored the terrace at Boisdale Of Canary Wharf for two months.
The move is a bid to not only highlight the country as a leisure destination, but also to flag it up as ripe for investment.
The launch drew the likes of former England footballer Sol Campbell, musician Yolanda Brown, lawyer and celebrity Nancy Dell'Olio and Jamaican high commissioner Geroge Ramocan who cut the ribbon to open the terrace.
Visitors can expect plenty of rum punch and lager thanks to tie-ins with Red Stripe and Wray And Nephew.
The opening follows an address by the governor of the Bank Of Jamaica Brian Wynter at Boisdale in June who spoke at length about efforts he’s made to shore up the island’s economy.
He said: "The UK has a central bank on which we model ourselves. We have a focus on stabilisation, doing business and growth.
"Jamaica had a debt level of around 145% of GDP just a few years ago, but coming to the end of this fiscal year we expect that to be down to around 108% – well on its way to our target of 95% or below by 2020 and 60% by the end of 2025/26.
"As you can see that's very heavy lifting – I think it's second to none, especially in a country that's not resource rich.
"That's considerable sacrifice but it's to underpin our desire to have a country that can focus on energising private enterprise.
"I believe the effort we've made already is what has won Jamaica the attention of serious investors."
Keen to broaden its base and attract money from sectors other than tourism the message is that the island is open for business, especially when it comes to agriculture and outsourcing.
Canary Wharf workers shouldn't fear the hard sell, however. The Jamaica Garden Terrace is firmly rooted in booze, jerk chicken and live music with plenty of tropical vegetation as a backdrop.
Boisdale managing director Ranald Macdonald said: "“I have always felt a great affinity with Jamaica.
"An early infatuation with Bob Marley and reggae music led to a visit being required, which started a love affair to last a lifetime.
"I also discovered to my great satisfaction that Scotland and Jamaica are joined at the hip with more Scottish surnames and place names in Jamaica than anywhere outside of Scotland. Hence the Scottish saltire was selected as the base for the Jamaican Nation flag after independence in 1962.
"Of course Jamaica is the only country in the Caribbean to have its own national tartan."
There is speculation of a further pop-up to come in Cabot Square featuring Red Stripe. Hopefully the Caribbean way of doing business will rub off on a few of the firms on the estate.
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