ndustry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has assured that all necessary environmental measures are being considered, as the Government moves forward with development plans for the Global Logistics Hub initiative.
“The environmental issues arising are critical and the Cabinet has reaffirmed the decision that all of this will have to be accomplished within a framework that is environmentally friendly and environmentally sound,” he stated.
The Minister was responding to questions raised by members of the Kiwanis Club, during a joint meeting of the clubs of Eastern St. Andrew, North St. Andrew, Meadowvale and Cyberconnect, held at the Altamont Court hotel in New Kingston, on May 21.
He informed that at the technical level, this will require the further strengthening of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), as the authority that deals with environmental, planning and sustainable development policies and programmes.
“NEPA is already ahead of the game, as it has started to train and beef up its human resource capabilities in these areas,” he said.
The Minister further noted that the government will also depend on the input of global players to ensure that “all of the projects that are key parts of the Hub will be implemented and operated consistent with the environment.”
“To obtain and retain a global hub status would mean that you would have to be subjected to global inspections, and I think, it is that input of global players that we will have to rely on, to ensure that we meet and maintain that standard,” he said.
The Government’s Global Logistics Hub Initiative is aimed at taking advantage of the anticipated increase in maritime activities from the expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled to be completed in 2015.
Jamaica is deemed ideally positioned for this undertaking, based on the country’s location, midway between North and South America, and in relatively close proximity to the Panama Canal.
The key elements of the initiative are: development of the Caymanas Economic Zone; dredging of the Kingston Harbour; establishing a Dry Dock facility at Jackson Bay, Clarendon; establishing a trans-shipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St. Thomas; and developing an air cargo and passenger facility at Vernamfield, in Clarendon.
Contact: Athaliah Rynolds-Baker