Island firm takes on new investors and expands to Jamaica

Journal Pioneer staff
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Ten jobs lost on P.E.I. but company president says it's temporary

Charlottetown-based Advantage Communications announced Friday its new partnership with Jamaica based ICD Group and expansion into Kingston, Jamaica. The Island Company has sold a 50 per cent stake to the privately held ICD Group in Kingston, Jamaica, and has opened its first operation outside of Maritime Canada.

Advantage Communications president and CEO Kent MacPhee talks to potential employees during a job fair in Amherst in June.

The strategic partnership positions the Maritime-based company in a high potential near-shore market and opens itself to new global opportunities, noted company president and CEO, Kent MacPhee.

The move affects about 10 positions on P.E.I., but MacPhee claims this will be temporary.

“We are thrilled for this new partnership and the growth it enables us to pursue. We conducted a thorough due diligence of many global markets and Jamaica came out on top and is currently ranked by industry insiders as one of top three business process outsourcing markets in the world,” said MacPhee.

"There is growing demand in many major markets and in particular, the U.S.A. for near-shore call centre services and the Jamaican workforce lends itself to that by virtue of its cultural affinity to the U.S.A. and the ability for employees to adopt a neutral accent that is easily understood.

"We are fiercely proud of our Canadian roots and heritage but also fiercely excited about the opportunities this will bring to our company. It will help us grow both locally and globally in the long-term.

"On the short-term, it will affect about 10 positions in P.E.I., but with new programs set to launch in P.E.I. in the new year, they will be very temporary,” noted MacPhee. “We are committed to growing in Canada and Jamaica alike and this enables us to further strengthen our business continuity process so all of our centres are not in one concentrated area."

Advantage Communications was founded in Charlottetown in 1996 and has expanded into five communities including three in Prince Edward Island. The company headquarters are in Charlottetown and currently employs over 400 people.

ICD Group’s core businesses are in construction, insurance and property management. It is the parent company of British Caribbean’s Insurance Company and affiliate, CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers Jamaica Ltd. and West Indies Home Contractors Ltd.

Organizations: U.S.A., ICD Group, CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers Jamaica West Indies Home Contractors

Geographic location: Jamaica, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown Canada Caribbean

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  • Tax Payer
    December 27, 2013 - 22:12

    Well lets get the full story out there: 1) The employees were given lay off notices less than a week before Christmas. Yes that is right less than a week! 2) At the same time this company was laying off employees they are also advertising jobs on the job bank, used PEI and Kijiji. Staff were given lay off notices and as they went out the door were meeting new potential going in for interviews for jobs. The people being interviewed could not even understand why the company was laying off staff and hiring at the same time. 3) Employees were not offered any transfers to the other positions available. 4) Two staff were sent to Jamaica to train staff in that country and the existing staff in Summerside were told "there will be no job loss in Summerside" 5) How much are the staff in Jamaica being paid? This is nothing more than outsourcing for cheaper labor. So proud of this "Island" company. I use the term "Island" company with a bit more than a hint of sarcasm because the "island" I know does not treat people like this a few days before Christmas.

    • Island Girl
      December 30, 2013 - 19:13

      I read this article and my heart went out to all those people that got laid off a few days before Christmas. It sounds like the company doesn't have there story straight as per the comment that I read. I would hope the company would offer jobs to the staff that they have right now and not hire new people. The company in my eyes is all about the buck and who cares about these people that will have no job. Create jobs in Jamicia and remove jobs on the island just doesn't seem right to me.

    • Reply
      January 03, 2014 - 17:30

      They got paid $3.30 an hour I was told by a Jamaica.

    • Reply
      January 03, 2014 - 17:32

      They got paid $3.30 an hour I was told by a Jamaica.