JIS News

Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, has expressed confidence that the dream of a re-developed downtown Kingston is fast becoming a reality.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Digicel Headquarters in downtown Kingston on November 30, Mr. Golding said the Government hopes to commence building a new headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to the west of the new Digicel building. The Chinese Government has already provided a grant of US$15M towards the construction of that building and work should begin in the new fiscal year.
Mr. Golding said he was encouraged that a number of the larger missions in Jamaica have already signaled that they are prepared to relocate and to construct buildings if land can be made available, or to rent commercial space.
He added that ‘there are other significant projects that the Urban Development Corporation has been working on, which should be announced soon and be out of the ground early next year’. However, Mr. Golding said he wanted to ensure that all the funds were in place before making the announcements.
The Prime Minister said the country would soon be seeing an acceleration in the pace of development in downtown Kingston, with Digicel kicking off with the construction of its new state-of-the-art 11-storey office building and the other projects that are to come on stream.
He was quick to add however, that “we are being very careful in how we plan the redevelopment of downtown Kingston. It is redevelopment we are talking about not displacement, as downtown Kingston has a particular culture of commerce and that is part of the spirit of downtown. That’s not something we must simply displace and replace with buildings and structures.”
The Prime Minister noted that he had seen inner city redevelopment elsewhere in the world and very often they made the mistake of driving out the people who are there. “There are communities here for which houses have to be provided,” he said. Mr. Golding hinted that a new experimental approach for inner-city housing, which will be funded by the National Housing Trust would be announced within the next few months.