JIS News

Cabinet has given its Development Unit the go-ahead to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with Surrey Paving and Aggregate to undertake a pre-feasibility study for the long-term development of the Vernamfield Aerodrome in Clarendon.
Minister of Information and Development, Donald Buchanan, who made this announcement at (July 30) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, pointed out that two preliminary studies were conducted on Vernamfield in February 2000 and March 2001. This study is however expected to expand the scope of the previous two.
“The two preliminary studies were confined to using the site to provide air cargo services within Jamaica, mainly, and the rest of the Caribbean region. It is being proposed that the scope be expanded beyond what had been originally contemplated,” he elaborated.
This current study will, among other things, investigate the potential uses of the aerodrome for air cargo transshipment; warehousing; aircraft maintenance; a ‘central hub’ for connecting seaport cargo for onward air distribution; and free-zone shopping, targeting Jamaican, Caribbean and Latin American retailers, distributors and procurers.
The Vernamfield Aerodrome has been inactive since the United States Air Force lease expired in 1999. In 2007 the Commissioner of Lands handed over the aerodrome to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), which planned to establish an Air Wing; the remaining lands are occupied by farmers.
Surrey Paving and Aggregate is a domestic company with experience in airside infrastructure and over 40 years in road construction. They will be associated with Simat Hellieson & Eichner (SH&E) which has more than 40 years international experience in providing transportation, tourism and commercial aviation consultancy.
Mr. Buchanan noted that the investment being made by Surrey Paving and Aggregate and Simat Hellieson & Eichner is “in the way of a venture capital and at no cost or liability to the Government. In these circumstances therefore, the proposed arrangement would not fall under Government’s procurement guidelines.”
Once the negotiations are completed the Development Unit should return to Cabinet for its vetting and approval.

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