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Encourage retirees to make Jamaica home

Published:Friday | December 1, 2023 | 12:05 AM


If Jamaica wants to see prosperity like never before, the country should review its focus on attracting retirees to return to Jamaica. Many in the diaspora would return in a heartbeat if crime were under control and health care were improved. Retirees bring their life-savings and monthly pension income in a foreign currency, with them.

Non-Jamaican retirees are also a lucrative market if incentives were attractive enough to make them want to live in Jamaica as opposed to other popular destinations, such as Panama, The Dominican Republic, and Mexico. These countries have for years offered incentives to retirees wishing to live in warmer climates and they boast large expatriate retiree communities. Mexico is home to most expatriate retirees from North America, more than any other country and popular cities have seen a boost economically, as a result. Panama offers many discounts to retirees, and has been a popular with retirees from the US and Canada. The income earned has helped to develop the country’s infrastructure and vital services.

Other countries in Europe, such as Spain and Portugal ,have been popular choices for retirees looking for warmer climate, a cultural change and a healthier lifestyle. Some stay for part of the year, others relocate permanently under special retirement visas which allow them to live in these countries without working. With remote work being an option to many, early retirement is also becoming popular. Most people spend more than one third of their lives working and eventually find an easy going lifestyle, away from the hustle, more attractive. Jamaica has the advantage of a year-round sunny weather, health tourism with mineral spas, beaches; we also have diverse entertainment, sports, restaurants etc. Since retirees income is based on foreign currency, any spending is a boost to economic activity and GDP.

If we can attract more Jamaica-born retirees, the income flows could help significantly to improve health-care facilities, and security. We should also not ignore non-Jamaican retirees if we can be creative with retiree residency options. Our number-one priority, however, should be aimed at developing effective strategies, to reduce crime. This would make Jamaica more attractive not just to visit, but a great place to live, work, play and retire.