JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Opportunities to drive economic growth with infrastructure public-private partnerships (PPPs) between Jamaica and Canada are numerous, says Senior Trade Commissioner at the Canadian High Commission, Rick McElrea.
  • Many large infrastructural projects being planned by Caribbean governments are proposed to be financed by PPPs. Jamaica and other Caribbean countries have used the PPP model in the past, for example, in the divestment of the Sangster International Airport and the toll roads.
  • The PPP seminar, which was attended by business leaders and officials from both the public and private sectors, sought to highlight the Canadian experience and practices in PPPs.

Opportunities to drive economic growth with infrastructure public-private partnerships (PPPs) between Jamaica and Canada are numerous, says Senior Trade Commissioner at the Canadian High Commission, Rick McElrea.

“Almost every single thing that is on the Government’s agenda that has to be updated, such as highways, schools, hospitals, even the logistics hub…is a potential project for public-private partnership,” he noted.

Mr. McElrea was speaking with JIS News following a PPP expertise seminar hosted by the Canadian Government at its High Commission on March 27, under the theme – ‘Possibilities abound: Canada and Jamaica partnerships in infrastructure’.

The PPPs are defined as government service or ventures that are provided and operated by the private sector. Among the types of PPP projects that are commonly provided are roads, utilities, buildings, schools, and hospitals.

Many large infrastructural projects being planned by Caribbean governments are proposed to be financed by PPPs. Jamaica and other Caribbean countries have used the PPP model in the past, for example, in the divestment of the Sangster International Airport and the toll roads.

Mr. McElrea advised that the PPP model could also apply in the area of technology, pointing out that he has had several discussions with local engineers on the issue.

“One area of opportunity is how we can engage more Canadian technology into building products in Jamaica, because Canada has some very advanced technologies, especially in energy conservation, such as energy efficient windows and walls,” he noted.

The Trade Commissioner said  that funding for such projects might not necessarily come through the Canadian Government, but rather through commercial entities.

He informed that there are several organisations in Canada, including  Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) that have  experience in PPPs and could assist Jamaican entities in making arrangements for financing such projects.

Mr. McElrea added that the Trade Commissioner’s Department also has a part to play in this regard, as it often operates as a matchmaker service, linking the ideal commercial entity in Canada with the perfect infrastructure project or partnership.

The PPP seminar, which was attended by business leaders and officials from both the public and private sectors, sought to highlight the Canadian experience and practices in PPPs. Canada is considered an early leader worldwide in the structuring of PPPs and over the years, firms in that country have developed an impressive track record of financing and managing such projects.