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Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has advised that negotiations by the Air Jamaica privatisation team are well advanced and in a position where a decision can soon be made. He said the final decision will be guided by sound financial and economic indicators as well as the overall state of the economy.
During his ‘Jamaica House Live’ radio programme, last night (June 24), Mr. Golding said, “Prominent in the consideration is going to be what is in Jamaica’s long-term interest. The airline is interwoven with our economic programme, particularly in relation to tourism; but not tourism alone. Therefore, we are going to make sure that whatever we do we will still have destinations that are linked to Jamaica to support our tourism industry and to provide us with access to critical gateways.”
On the matter of the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC), Mr. Golding said the viability of the service would determine the final decision on when rail transport might become available to freight and passenger traffic. “The studies that have been done so far indicate that it (JRC) would require a level of investment that is beyond what could reasonably be recovered from the passenger traffic. We have to make sure that the economics are right.” he noted.
“What Minister Henry is seeking to do is to integrate it in terms of a wider transportation policy. What I do not want to do is to saddle the taxpayers of Jamaica with any more burden than they are bearing already. I can’t ask the taxpayers to subsidise the operation of the railway, and therefore we are continuing to work to see how we can configure it in such a way that it can at least break even, until at some stage in the future it could be profitable.”