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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is refuting any suggestion that the plans for the Global Logistics Hub Initiative were inherited from the former administration.

In fact, he said, the Opposition had left behind a set of ideas and projects, “which were highly fragmented and incoherent”, and the Government has reworked the projects, to include critical initiatives, which were not a part of the concept of the previous administration.

[RELATED: Minister Hylton Calls for Opposition to Support Logistics Hub Project]

“The fact is that the ideas and projects left by the former administration only vaguely resemble the initiative currently being promoted by the Government,” Mr. Hylton stated at the press conference Thursday, June 6, at his New Kingston offices.

“They could not support the robust value proposition for Jamaica being positioned as the fourth node of the global logistics and supply chain system,” he added.

As it relates to statements posited by the Opposition, that a template had been left behind for the Caymanas Economic Zone, with “investors at the table and development slated to begin in 2012,” Minister Hylton contended that the project could not have begun in 2012 as suggested, particularly since the previous administration was planning to issue a bond for $1.2 billion to finance the required investments.

“This would simply add more debt to the country’s already oversized debt burden,” he remarked.

He noted further that the idea put forward for the industrial park at Caymanas had not been coordinated or integrated with the other plans left behind, and that “it simply lacked focus and could not therefore be regarded as a logistics hub”.

He explained that the Government took these projects and broadened them to include critical initiatives such as the dry dock and commodity port facilities; a feasibility assessment, and articulated them as a “seamless coherent and comprehensive strategic initiative, centered on logistics”.

The Minister also cited the Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Entrepreneurship Policy as a critical measure, which was not part of the previous administration’s plans.

The MSME policy is being implemented to link the sector into the mega projects, which are anticipated for the logistics hub.

The policy outlines the interventions by the Government to enhance the contribution of the sector, and provides a platform for the sector to be integrated into the global value and supply chain.

The Minister, however, credited the previous administration for successfully negotiating several open skies agreements, which he said, are critical to the development of the aviation component of the hub.

He also acknowledged the concept put forward for the multi-modal transportation system, which he said, is necessary for the hub, but “it is not the logistics hub”.

Contact: Alphea Saunders