MONTEGO BAY — The Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, was on Saturday April 16 officially handed over to the Government and people of Jamaica.
Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, received the keys from President of the China National Complete Plant Import Export Corporation (COMPLANT), the contracting firm that constructed the facility, Li Zhimin, at a ceremony held at the facility.
The convention centre, which sits on approximately 14 .1 hectares of land adjacent to the Rose Hall Great House, was constructed through a loan agreement signed in 2007, between the China Export Import Bank and the Government. Ground was broken to start construction in February 2009, while the doors to the facility were officially opened in January 2011.
While some landscaping is still being done, the facility has already hosted a major conference, namely the Caribbean Marketplace, one week after its official opening in January.
Prime Minister Golding, in his address at the handingover, praised the quality of work done and the timeframe in which the project was carried out. While expressing some disappointment that the landscaping has not been completed due to problems regarding the irrigation system, Mr. Golding said he has been assured that the work will be finished shortly.
The Prime Minister, in stating his appreciation, said that the convention centre represents only one example of the growing, maturing, strengthening relationship between China and Jamaica.
"It is no secret, it is evident for all to see, that China is playing an increasingly significant role in Jamaica's development efforts," he stated, citing the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), among other projects, in which China is involved in Jamaica.
He noted that the Asian country, while being one of the most powerful, and is fast emerging as the most dominant economy in the world, is still classified as a developing nation, and because of that, China understands the issues that affect countries like Jamaica.
"They understand the kind of challenges that we have to face, and in so many councils of the world, we are able to find common cause with China, because they understand our difficulties, they understand our hopes and aspirations. They have pledged to support Jamaica and countries like ours, in trying to find a better way to navigate this unfriendly international economic environment in which we find ourselves," the Prime Minister stated.
He noted further that Jamaica, through successive administrations, has remained unswervingly committed to a 'One China Policy', and has total respect for the country, and supports its sovereignty.
By BRYAN MILLER