JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding says Government is looking at setting up a solar energy farm on the eastern side of the Hellshire Hills in Portmore, St Catherine, in its drive to encourage greater use of solar energy for household purposes.
Mr. Golding was responding to recommendations made by Montego Bay business persons, during a meeting which took place recently during the Prime Minister’s one-day visit to Montego Bay, St. James. Mr. Golding also met with various other interest groups, including representatives of the Negril Environmental Protection Trust and Councillors of the St James Parish Council. He was accompanied by Minister of Water and Housing and MP for St. James North Western, Dr Horace Chang.
During the meeting, the Montego Bay business representatives raised concerns about a number of other issues including the crime situation; the need for increased marketing of Jamaica as a tourism destination to non-traditional markets such as India, China and Brazil; the problems of squatting, housing and transportation.
They commended the Government on its tax collection drive but suggested that in the same way penalties were being charged for late payment of taxes, incentives should be offered for early payments, especially in relation to the payment of the GCT. The Prime Minister gave the assurance, that Government is considering incentives in this area.
Suggestions were also made by members of the Montego Bay business community, for the training of young men through the establishment of polytechnic institutions. This, they said should be separate from the services offered under the HEART/NTA skills training programme. Recommendations were made for the Government to look into the possibility of training persons and exporting labour to the more developed countries, as another way of generating foreign exchange for the country.
Mr. Golding reiterated that under the Government’s education transformation programme, HEART/NTA would be more involved with schools. He said that students will be spending an additional two years in high school, and that there will be an increase in the number of 6th forms. Certification by HEART/NTA will also be upgraded to provide accreditation for entry to University, Mr. Golding said.
On the matter of squatting, Minister Chang noted that this continues to be a critical problem throughout St James but that his Ministry has identified lands, to address this problem and action would be taken before the end of March 2009.