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JIS News

Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Robert Pickersgill and other senior officials in the Ministry yesterday (May 16), met with an eight-member delegation from China’s CAMC Engineering (CAMCE) Company Limited, to continue discussions on how the Chinese can assist in the resuscitation of the rail service in Jamaica.
Speaking with JIS News following the meeting, Minister Pickersgill said the discussions were proceeding reasonably well, but there was need to have further discussions with prospective stakeholders in terms of establishing the viability of this project.
“It is not a small project. It will turn out to be one of the largest projects in the country, since we are speaking about a sum of money in excess of US$300 million. It is still early days yet, because we have to establish the viability, so that we will be able to repay the loan,” he pointed out.
The railway talks between the Government and the People’s Republic of China commenced in February 2005, when that country’s Vice President, His Excellency, Zeng Qinghong, on a visit to the island to participate in the inaugural China-Caribbean Trade Forum and Trade Fair, made a proposal to the Jamaican Government. This proposal, which was formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, was followed up with a return visit to China by former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson in June 2005, where he witnessed the signing of a Heads of Agreement.
Since then, there have been several visits to the island by Chinese delegations gathering technical and financial data to supplement the proposal, the last such visit taking place last month, when CAMCE’s Vice-President, visited the island to conduct a technical study and meet with representatives of the National Investment Bank of Jamaica (NIBJ).
At yesterday’s meeting, the Chinese delegation was led by the President of CAMCE, Luo Yan and included representatives from the company’s local associates, CCC International, headed by President, Antonio Hawkins.
In attendance at the meeting were State Ministers, Dr. Fenton Ferguson and Richard Azan; Permanent Secretary, Dr. Alwin Hales; Director-General, Genefa Hibbert; Senior Director, Policy Planning and Evaluation, Elsa-May Binns; Principal Finance Officer, Altius Williams and other senior Ministry officials.