Friday 19 April, 2019

Gov’t ‘transforming Portland from poverty to prosperity’ – Vaz

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, has outlined a comprehensive plan for the development of Portland which he said will see the transformation of the parish from “poverty to prosperity.”

Vaz, who’s the Member of Parliament for West Portland, has portfolio responsibility for job creation.

During his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Vaz revealed that he was in consultation with a major player in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector with a view to creating 500 jobs targeting school leavers in the parish.

According to Vaz, while the local BPO sector was booming, Portland had been neglected. He also said plans are well advanced for the creation of 50 call centre jobs.

Minister Vaz also told the House that the Portland Municipal Corporation, in conjunction with the Transport Authority, has identified lands for the construction of transportation centres in Port Antonio and Buff Bay - “two places that are bursting at their seams with disorder in terms of traffic management.”  

And Vaz said that with 11 Government offices comprising some 25,000 square feet “all scattered around the Port Antonio area in little nooks and crannies,” plans are well advanced for the development of lands at Broundbrook, which is owned by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica and the National Insurance Fund.

The aim is to have all government offices in a single location with proper parking and other facilities.

According to Vaz, he has convinced the Prime Minister that compared to developments slated for the parish of St Thomas and elsewhere, this is a “relatively small, manageable project.” He said the discussions are far advanced and he should be able to make an announcement in a matter of months. He said it will be a game changer for the parish.

Vaz also revealed that groundbreaking will take place for the Sandals-owned property at Dragon Bay between the end of the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. He said some 800 jobs will be created during the construction phase and 500 permanent jobs during operation.

In the meantime, Vaz also told the House that some 5,000 jobs are projected from the Development Bank of Jamaica's (DBJ) injection of some $6.6 billion into the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector.

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