JAMAICA-Government moving to establish more Special Economic Zones

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (File Photo)

The Jamaica government says it intends to establish at least two Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the country within the next three years as it seeks to further improve the country’s economy.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that work is already underway on the Caymanas Special Economic Zone in St. Catherine, where a comprehensive feasibility study has been undertaken and that he had recently approved a Cabinet submission relating to the development of the south side of the Caymans lands.

He said his administration is currently in the process of finalising negotiations for the north side of the Caymanas lands and “as soon as that is [done], I will be informing the public as to where we are.“We are now going to have an investor come and ‘conference’ to determine the level of interest that is in the market to start this kind of development,” Holness told the recent Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation’s Strategic Leadership Retreat.

“I can see, spatially, that we can very well have the entire Caymanas area developed as an SEZ connected by the significant investments already made on Mandela [Highway and] Spanish Town Road going straight into our ports.

“The train line is already there, which runs in proximity to Caymanas. So we have everything already in place to have one of the most successful SEZs within the region. Now, can you imagine the level of employment that would bring,” Holness said.

“So I am giving the government three years to get it up and running. It’s going to be a long process because we have to do the procurement, we have to find the right contractor to do it, and that will take some time,” he added.

Prime Minister Holness said that once the zones are in operation, they will facilitate a seamless “plug and play” framework for investors to create and nurture new industries.

“So, the investor, who is coming to do business is not coming to worry about getting permit for this, permit for that, deal with contractors and workmen, sourcing materials and all that. That’s not what they are coming to do. They are just coming to do their business.

“So whether they are into cosmetics, information and processing [or] high-level research, they just come, space is ready, they plug in their computers and they start working. That is the concept of the SEZ,” he told the retreat.

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