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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Montego Bay, Jamaica’s second city, is a thriving and progressive municipality that is fast developing a reputation as a major centre for investment and business in the Caribbean.
  • Mayor of Montego Bay, Glendon Harris, describes the city “as the main centre of activity in the entire Caribbean, and is a city whose stock continues to rise.”
  • Montego Bay is the home of Jamaica’s and the Caribbean’s largest airport, Sangster International, which was ranked the number one airport in the Caribbean last year by the World Travel Awards.

Montego Bay, Jamaica’s second city, is a thriving and progressive municipality that is fast developing a reputation as a major centre for investment and business in the Caribbean.

The city has attracted billions in investment in recent years in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/call centre operations; construction and expansion of hotels; housing projects; construction of the Hospiten health facility; expansion of the Sangster International Airport; and upgrading of roads and bridges.

Thousands of residents, particularly young people, are gaining employment from these ventures. More than 14,000 persons have been employed by the BPO sector alone.

“Montego Bay has become a major hub that is positioned to be the centre of most business activities in the country,” says Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, in a recent JIS interview.

“It is one of the fastest growing cities in the Caribbean, which is set for major development,” she adds.

She noted in the West Central St. James alone, there are plans by a private developer to invest US$5 million in the construction of 500 dormitories.

“This will open access to cheaper housing to the typical Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) employee, who falls within the 19 to 30 age range,” she informs.

Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams notes further that some 1,300 houses are slated for construction shortly and that some $600 million is to be spent over the next five years to transform sections of the constituency under the integrated Community Development Programme being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

“Montego Bay is a city that is rich in history and is a city that is going places fast,” she adds.

Mayor of Montego Bay, Glendon Harris, describes the city “as the main centre of activity in the entire Caribbean, and is a city whose stock continues to rise.”

He points to the raft of infrastructural developments in recent years and the creation of scores of jobs.

“The evidence is there for all to see that Montego Bay is indeed the fastest growing city in the Caribbean,” Mr. Harris says.

“We have the biggest international airport in the region, we have a major port of call, we have a major business centre and we now have a world-class health facility (Hospiten Montego Bay). It is fair to say that we have experienced a period of rapid growth over the past five years,” he says.

Montego Bay was first declared a city some 137 years ago but this was later revoked under colonial rule. City status was reinstated in 1980.

The city stretches from Rose Hall at the eastern section to Great River heading west, and for tourism purposes, to the Hanover border near the town of Hopewell.

Montego Bay is the home of Jamaica’s and the Caribbean’s largest airport, Sangster International, which was ranked the number one airport in the Caribbean last year by the World Travel Awards.

Chief Executive Officer of the Sangster Airport, Dr. Rafael Echevarne,  says the facility falls among the elite group of one fifth of the world’s airports that are certified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), another plus for Montego Bay.

“Worldwide, less than 20 per cent of the world’s airports are certified and here we are in a very, very advantageous situation…” Dr. Echevarne tells JIS News. “This is something that is truly amazing that we should be proud of,” he adds.

Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, tells JIS News that there are plans to redevelop Montego Bay’s popular ‘Hip Strip’, to restore it to its glory days and to take full advantage of Jamaica’s rich entertainment culture.

The ‘Hip Strip’ is a two-mile coastal route adjacent to the Sangster Airport that encompasses Gloucester Avenue and Kent Avenue. It has featured prominently in Montego Bay’s tourism product and was once the main source of entertainment for the second city.

“We have plans and now we have to decide on how we are going to achieve it,” Dr. McNeill says.