By David Chen
Over the years as an active and true supporter for "BRAND JAMAICA" – I have realised that we are moving backwards – instead of forward. Not just with the Air Jamaica situation, but overall with the idea of "Jamaicans Working Together To Make It Better."
I remember when I formed the organisation Voicing For Jamaica well over 9 years ago – my overall aim and objective, now and will always be, is for all Jamaican and friends of Jamaica to "Work Together – To Make it Better" and overall to change whatever "negative we have to positive".
Speaking from a marketing and PR prospective, to BRAND JAMAICA – unfortunately our leaders and international government officials prefer to employ outside the Jamaican race and culture – it is NOW so embarrassing, as a passionate Jamaican to put my face in my hands with tears and try to overstand that we now own NOTHING!!! Air Jamaica could have lasted IF the management team saw the interest to communicate with fellow Jamaicans who tried to supported positively in the right direction – and those who were culturally involved and active in the COMMUNITY. Remember this, everyone wants cheapness – however, look at any China Town worldwide – what do you see (think about it).
Air Jamaica from a marketing and promotional prospective did not get involved with the idea of wanting to be seen with the promotions of cultural events – , compared to people like Western Union and VIrgin Atlantic. I personally have approached Air Jamaica on numerous occasions with various ideas – at times – it was little or close to nothing cost to them – just to put their LOGO on one of my promotional events – this without doubt would add publicity/brand awareness – . If I am wrong let me know…
Considering my views and opinion – I will repeat – the UK marketing and PR company, did not BRAND Air Jamaica in the right direction – at times when I personally called them – they knew nothing – how can you have an organisation representing you who knew very little about the brand they are being paid to promote in the open space – the question we can also ask here, from a financial prospective – what were they paid – and what did they do, where did the money go?
Leaders, locally and internationally – how do you feel – we had the most beautiful Love Bird in the sky, one that we as Jamaicans were proud of – regardless of the negative views – we still wanted to promote OUR national carrier – without doubt Virgin will offer a better service, will more and widely seen in the publics eyes and without doubt be visible in the community – I can also see where VIRGIN will be employing a team from Jamaica to manage the JAMAICA route.
What is more upsetting than anything else right now, is that we have approached you, our leaders many times to assist with the development of BRAND JAMAICA, but have been shunned on many occasions. I can recall when I have been called a "One Man Band", have been told to "Stop Dreaming" – YET – when there is anything to be promoted – we are being called upto by your disciples – . The Jamaican Diaspora UK is a major example – and for many Jamaicans who live in the UK will understand where I am coming from where the Jamaican Diaspora is concerned. Regardless, we are all Jamaicans so we need to assist positively as much as possible.
Again, if you are a Jamaican with an idea – that is superior to what the Government or the UK officials originated – take my point – you will not be supported. If I am wrong – let me know.
Back in the early 90’s before Air Jamaica started operating in the UK, myself and a number of business partners worked hard to promote an airline called ALL JAMAICA LIMITED (AJL) – this was the first carrier that would offer the opportunity to fellow Jamaicans and those who had an interest in visiting the island to journey via Cuba – this was a brilliant idea – as for one – we were offering travellers the opportunity to visit two islands for the price of one – . Unfortunately, we lasted less than a year – why – from our personal prospective – was because the government did not have a major stake in the operation and the idea – we were left out in the cold.
If the government had a forward thinking sense – they would see the potential of what true and passionate Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica were trying to do – . If AJL had lasted we would have been the first carrier out of Jamaica to offer the opportunity for visitors to have a stop off journey on route to Jamaica, via Cuba.
AIR JAMAICA, personally speaking I tried hard to support over the years – . On a weekly basis through my TV programme and through my E-Commercing business for nothing – but how long can you work for nothing – when others who know not much about the culture are reaping the benefit – how fair is that?
The problem I see with most Jamaican owned companies is that majority of the head of operation are not Jamaican. I am not saying this is wrong – IF the the head of operation understand the culture of the island, the people, the infrastructure and most important the attitude and business sense overall – that’s fine, however, it is most frustrating when you from the outside can see the difficulty and those who are paying for the service cannot – until when things gone wrong!
Again, having been in the travel and tourism industry now over 17 years in the UK, a qualified Jamaican Travel Specialist ( approved by The Jamaica Tourist Board ) and have visited not one, not two but almost ALL the islands of the caribbean – we can do alot better to support the travel and tourism industry – do like the Chinese – promote in the community – again, use China Town as an example – and "Let’s Work Together To Make It Better"
Most importantly, how can you have a press and PR company to market your country – if they know not much?
Finally – make a note of this saying "ONLY WE CAN DO IT BETTER FOR OURSELVES"