Gov’t Will Protect Jamaica’s Interests – PM

Photo: Michael Sloley Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (left), emphasises a point while addressing Wednesday’s (August 9) contract-signing ceremony for the J$564.7-million (US$4.4-million) Barbican Road improvement project at Jamaica House. The four-month project is being implemented by the National Works Agency (NWA) under the Government’s Major Infrastructure Development Programme, and will be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC). Seated (from left) are NWA Chief Executive Officer, E.G. Hunter; CHEC Project Manager, Liu Xiangang; Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica, His Excellency Niu Qingbao; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell; Justice Minister and Member of Parliament for north east St. Andrew, where the project is located, Hon. Delroy Chuck; and State Minister in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Everald Warmington.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has assured that the Government will act in the nation’s best interest in its pursuit of foreign investments.
  • The Prime Minister, who was responding to concerns regarding Chinese interests in Jamaica, pointed out that China “is one of if not the largest provider of foreign direct investments globally”, and “much of that… comes this way (to Jamaica)”.
  • The Prime Minister noted that successive Administrations, over the last 10 years, have developed a strategic relationship and partnership with China, which have facilitated major infrastructure projects.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has assured that the Government will act in the nation’s best interest in its pursuit of foreign investments.

Jamaica’s engagement and facilitation of foreign investors is intended to deliver the social and economic benefits, which, the Prime Minister noted, are critical in enabling the country to attain developed status.

“We can’t (achieve this) by shutting off ourselves from the world. We can only do it by integrating and making ourselves a critical element and node in the world economy… and that is what we are doing,” he said.

The Prime Minister, who was responding to concerns regarding Chinese interests in Jamaica, pointed out that China “is one of if not the largest provider of foreign direct investments globally”, and “much of that… comes this way (to Jamaica)”.

He contends that the island risks closure of the window of opportunity to secure economic independence “if we allow (those investments) to pass us by”.

“That means we have to be receptive of investments… not just from China. Jamaica wants to see a diversified portfolio of investors coming in. We want investors from all over to come here and invest. We want people to choose Jamaica to invest,” he added.

He was speaking at Wednesday’s (August 9) Barbican Road improvement project contract signing at Jamaica House, St. Andrew.

The Prime Minister noted that successive Administrations, over the last 10 years, have developed a strategic relationship and partnership with China, which have facilitated major infrastructure projects.

He said these developments are positioned as major legacies that will benefit Jamaica over the long term and reflect the spirit of engagement that has fostered the relationship between the countries since they established diplomatic relations in 1972.

China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Niu Qingbao, who also spoke at the signing ceremony, indicated that Jamaica is the only regional nation with which his country shares the level of infrastructure development partnership being embarked on locally.

“We look forward to having more cooperation between the countries,” he said.

The J$564.7-million (US$4.4-million) Barbican Road improvement project is being implemented under the Government’s Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIPD) with funding support from the Chinese Government.

It entails upgrading of 1.1 kilometres of the 3.75-kilometre thoroughfare along the stretch between the intersection at the Jacks Hill Road and the roadway leading to Russell Heights, as well as the East Kings House Road/Barbican Centre intersection.

The roadway will be widened from two to four lanes and is expected to significantly alleviate traffic congestion, which has been a long-standing challenge in that area.

The project is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation through the National Works Agency (NWA), and will be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC).

Complementing this will be a $131-million water and sewerage infrastructure installation project, which will be implemented simultaneously by the National Water Commission, and executed by Surrey Paving and Aggregate Co. Limited.

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