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Cabinet has approved the establishment of a privatisation team to manage the privatisation of the Norman Manley International Airport. (NMIA).
The team will include representatives of the Ministry of Transport, and Works, the Airports Authority of Jamaica, the Development Bank of Jamaica, the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General’s Department and Jamaica Trade and Invest.
The disclosure was made this morning (Oct 21), by Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, at the opening ceremony for the new departure terminal at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA).
Mr. Golding said the team will engage the services of suitable consultants and will oversee the various processes involved, including soliciting expressions of interest, evaluating submissions and making the appropriate recommendations to Cabinet. He said the statutory framework and operating structure have already been put in place.
Mr. Golding said the Government’s decision was made based on the conventional assumption that the private sector is more efficient at running commercial operations and airports are increasingly seen as enterprises rather than as public services. Further, he noted that there is the belief that Government is spread too thin and that this is a cause of its ineffectiveness. Government, he said needs to concentrate not only its resources, but also its energies and attention on its core functions while ensuring a policy environment that encourages investment and development.
In his address, Mr. Golding responded to a call from Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller at the function, to beautify the airport corridor along Sir Florizel Glasspole Boulevard, up to Marcus Garvey Drive, that will make Jamaicans proud and entice visitors to return. Mr. Golding said work is to begin before the start of the tourist season on that section of the airport road from Harbour View. He said the Minister of Tourism had advised that funds would be allocated for this development from the Tourism Enhancement Funds.
He noted that subject to engineering, technical feasibility and cost recovery confirmations, Government is also determined to build a cross-the-harbour express- way, linking downtown Kingston to the airport and Port Royal. He said the pre- feasibility work is being done to determine technical feasibility and environmental accessibility. “Its important if we are to allow for easy access to the airport and bearing in mind the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, to be linked with the proposed redevelopment of Port Royal”, Mr. Golding said.
In his address at the opening ceremony, Transport and Works Minister, Mike Henry, said that Government has been focussing on connectivity and broad improvements in air, sea, and land transportation, including both the rail and road networks. “This is what Jamaica needs to produce the kind of economic growth and development which has long eluded us, which this Government, despite the challenging global pressures, is intent on realising”, Mr. Henry said.
Mr. Golding headed a team of Government officials, contractors and private sector representatives who were taken on a tour of the US$120-million airport expansion programme by officials of the Airports Authority of Jamaica.