JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, remains optimistic about the potential for growth in the island’s ICT sector.
  • Following a tour of several ICT companies in the Montego Bay Freezone, on Monday, August 4, along with Finance Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, Mr. Paulwell said the potential in the industry is great.
  • Mr. Paulwell said ongoing developments in the ICT sector fits into the country’s mandate for the sector.

Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, remains optimistic about the potential for growth in the island’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

In an interview with JIS News, following a tour of several ICT companies in the Montego Bay Freezone, on Monday, August 4, along with Finance Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, Mr. Paulwell said the potential in the industry is great.

“Minister Phillips and myself have been on a tour of a number of the ICT facilities and we believe that the prospect for growth in tremendous…and we are trying to encourage all the players in the industry,” the Minister said.

Mr. Paulwell said ongoing developments in the ICT sector fits into the country’s mandate for the sector.

“The Finance Minister, in this year’s budget, singled out the ICT sector for special treatment, because we believe we have certain competitive advantages. We have seen it on display during the tour, and we are very upbeat about the prospects for the future,” the Minister said.

Speaking specifically about the Barnett Tech Park, which is due to come on stream in November of this year, Mr. Paulwell pointed out that the progress made so far speaks volume for local investors.

He said the vision of Montego Bay businessman, Mark Kerr-Jarrett, to construct the Barnett Tech Park, must be praised.

“We want to encourage players, such as Mark Kerr-Jarrett and other private sector interests, to get involved in the building of office space. We believe it is a worthwhile investment and it will lead to the jobs that we are trying to create,” Mr.  Paulwell said.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister said it is very pleasing to see the progress of the Barnett Tech Park, for which ground was broken in December of last year.

“We signed in December and it’s now August and the first ICT clients should be in (the building) in November, so that is reflecting progress,” Dr. Phillips said.

The Finance Minister said the ICT sector can be expanded into other areas of Jamaica, and during the tour, it was noted that close to 10,000 persons are employed to the sector in Montego Bay.

“We visited a lot of businesses in the Freezone. I think there is close to 10,000 young Jamaicans employed at all layers of the industry in Montego Bay and this is something that we can develop in other parts of the country,” he said.

Dr. Phillips said he will be having further discussions with players in the ICT industry regarding ways in which Government can work with them to maximize the benefits to Jamaica.

“We have a lot of talented young people with all the skills needed to make Jamaica the ICT capital of the world, certainly in per capita terms, and we want to do that because the more young people we put to work, the more their families can be secured. We think that growth is going to depend a lot on what happens in this ICT sector,” the Finance Minister emphasised.