Above: the signing ceremony (JIS Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The government of Jamaica has signed a framework agreement with the state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company to develop a transshipment hub in the Portland Bight area.
The selection of the environmentally sensitive Portland Bight area has led to controversy within Jamaica, as it is classified as a Protected Area.
Works Minister Dr Omar Davies said regulations would be adhered to in the “normal way.”
“We treasure the preservation of the environment, as much as any other group, and we are concerned about the human beings and the plight of poverty, and the impact which that has on the environment,” Davies said.
Jamaica, which has been suffering from largely anaemic growth in recent years, has pinned much of its hopes for economic development on the logistics hub project.
The government said the proposed hub would create as many as 10,000 jobs upon completion.
“After all the required studies are carried out, including the environmental assessment, this project will be going ahead,” Davies said. “If we can find a project which provides productive employment for our citizens and at the same time restricts any damage, then we have a win win situation.”
The government said CHEC had “made moves” to engage Jamaica’s National Environment and Planning Agency to study the project’s feasibility.
“In China Harbour, we have a trustworthy partner,” Davies said.