JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, says that several factors influenced the Government’s decision to propose the removal of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) from its current location at Up Park Camp in Kingston to Caymanas, St. Catherine.
Responding to questions posed by Member of Parliament for Central Manchester, Peter Bunting, Mr. Golding told the House of Representatives, Tuesday (December 7) that the current layout, structures and facilities at Up Park Camp were not appropriate for a modern military base.
“The JDF headquarters is in urgent need of reconstruction. An issue that had to be addressed, therefore, is whether substantial parts of these facilities should be demolished and rebuilt at the present site, or a greenfield approach be adopted for providing appropriate facilities for the JDF,” he stated.
He also noted that the Up Park Camp lands, which comprise over 200 acres, provided the only available space to facilitate the “retro design and retrofit” of the City of Kingston and the urban sections of St. Andrew.
“Its proximity to Cross Roads, the historically and strategically located major nodal point of the Corporate Area, makes it a pivotal development asset for realigning and refreshing the Corporate Area,” Mr. Golding said.
He added that the proposed use of Up Park Camp lands envisages a mix of sporting and recreational, cultural, commercial and residential development, including the largest developed public green space within the Kingston Metropolitan Area.
Historically important sites, such as the Garrison Church and Briggs Park, would be preserved as heritage sites, he assured.
The Prime Minister informed the House that the idea came from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), which made the proposal to him some 2-3 months after he assumed office. He said that the planning is still at design/ concept stage, and there was still ample time for wider discussion on the issues.
He also said that the concept must be private sector driven, but assured the House that the army would still maintain adequate facilities in the Corporate Area to meet its demands.
It is too early to provide cost estimates for the proposed new headquarters at Caymanas, which would be subject to detailed designs that have not yet been undertaken, he noted.
The JDF has been given 4,000 acres of land in St. Catherine for the construction of the new headquarters, consisting of a major training facility and a major operational base.