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Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Karl Samuda, has said that plans are in high gear for the development of the Caymanas Enterprise in St. Catherine.
“Over the past year, we have gone a far way in identifying the exact location. We are now in the process of doing the final surveys, and the approval for change of use, coupled with the assessment studies that will be undertaken,” the Minister told journalists at a recent press briefing, held at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston.
Minister Samuda said the project is estimated to cost US$2.5 billion on completion. He pointed out that the plan is to establish the infrastructure, that could be utilised by an investor to build the facility and use it.
He is projecting that before the end of this year, agreements will be signed with several investors who may want to partner in this initiative.
“All the factors are in place, what we need now is to get all the approvals out of the way, the final design prepared, and go out and sell,” Mr. Samuda said, informing that a logistics team from the World Bank, will be visiting the island shortly to assist with the layout and design.
The Minister highlighted that on completion, the 500-acre economic freezone, would house assembly plants dealing with electronics, light manufacturing facilities, craft, agro-processing, software development, telecommunications and information technology, pharmaceuticals, logistical planning and warehousing, small business incubator centres, and support services.
“It is a vast project which will not only speak to the development of a factory facility, but to freight forwarding facilities, recreational facilities, and hotel facilities, so that investors who are engaged in activities within the complex will not have to leave to find hotel accommodation,” the Industry Minister outlined.
He pointed out that a major plan is to transfer Tinson Pen to Caymanas. The idea, he noted, is to remove the aerodrome and bring it adjacent to the development, in order to create linkages to the port via railway.
“It (the proposed facility) is close to our shipping facilities at the port, to our international airport, and to the Highway 2000 facility. Most importantly, it is adjacent to the largest collection of trained persons, perhaps, in the entire Caribbean (living) in Portmore, Independence City, Edgewater, all of those communities and therefore, it is ideally suited to be an attractive location for international investors,” he pointed out.
Minister Samuda noted that the development of such a facility “will create tremendous opportunities for employment and lay a foundation for sustainable economic development of the country.”