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JIS News

Ground was broken on Saturday (Feb. 14), symbolically marking the official start of construction of the long awaited Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.
The facility, located in the Rose Hall area of Montego Bay, will be financed by the Government of China through a concessional loan agreement, with major financial input also from the Government of Jamaica.
In his address at the official groundbreaking ceremony, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, described the planned construction of the Convention Centre, as a project in demand for some time.
“It is a facility that we had long needed, it is a facility that we had long hoped for, and I want to thank the Government of China for making it possible”, he stated.
Pointing out that tourism is a major pillar of the Jamaican economy, the Prime Minister underscored the market appeal in the tourism sector of Jamaica and Montego Bay in particular, adding that despite all the infrastructural improvements within the sector in Jamaica, the country has been unable to capitalise on the niche market of convention tourism because of the lack of adequate facilities.
“The Convention Centre, therefore, is a strategic addition to our tourism product and our tourism infrastructure”, he stated.
“For Jamaica it is a significant development, for our tourism stakeholders it is a dream come through”, he added.
The project is to be financed by way of a loan made available to Jamaica by the China Export Import Bank, in the amount of 350 million Yuan. The loan agreement was signed in June of 2007.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the St. James Parish Council approved the plans for the construction of the facility in November 2008. Construction is expected to take some 20 months to completion.
The project is another outcome of the growing co-operation that exists between China and Jamaica. It is also a demonstration of China’s eagerness to help Jamaica to grow and to develop.
Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, in his address paid tribute to the joint effort between Jamaica and China towards getting the project started.
He said that the distance between the two countries cannot dampen the relationship between them. He emphasised that, in the 36 years that diplomatic relations were established between both countries, there have been several productive co-operative efforts.
Pointing out that Montego Bay is noted worldwide as a tourist destination, he expressed the hope that the Convention Centre will add to that city’s appeal, and become a significant symbol of the level of co-operation between Jamaica and China.