ST JAMES, Jamaica — Approximately 60 potential investors from around the world are currently on a two-day tour in Kingston and St Catherine as they wrap up participation in the World Free Zone Organization’s 8th Annual International Conference & Exhibition.
After meetings at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from June 13 to 15, Thursday and Friday— the last two days of the event — are being used for investment tours and other related activities.
“We will be heading into the Caymanas area, the port lands (in Kingston) to have investors or potential investors review those projects to identify if they have any interest in them,” Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA), Gary Scott disclosed in an interview with OBSERVER ONLINE, following the AICE closing ceremony on Wednesday.
“There are other tours that we are organising that will allow for some of them to be able to see and look at other investment projects that we would like to pitch to them and identify their interests,” he added.
There is a big push to stir interest in the Caymanas Special Economic Zone in St Catherine. At the conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that work would begin on the long-awaited project as part of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary celebrations. It spans 650 acres of land. The Port Authority of Jamaica has been charged with getting the work done.
“It is a large scale distribution and logistics type centre fulfilment park. Feasibility studies have been done and the Port Authority… and a few other Government agencies are seeking to find an opportunity to get investors for that,” explained Scott.
“It is an investment in the development of the industrial park or the logistics centre in the first instance. It’s the build-out of the entire real estate development infrastructure, the warehousing etc, and then identifying various companies who will operate from these zones,” he added.
Among the benefits of the project which would make it attractive to investors, he said, is its close proximity to the port of Kingston.
“The objective is to be able to have goods — that are normally transhipped — be able to come into these zones and value can be added. So, you have value-added services of packaging and assembling of various activities happening in a Caymanas Special Economic Zone, as one example, and then get redistributed from Jamaica into different countries around us in the Americas,” he added.
In addition to being bullish about the Caymanas project, Scott is optimistic about Jamaica’s investment prospects overall.
“We had a successful conference, in general. A lot of information has been shared between the different panel discussions. It was good to have some of our own Jamaicans participate and get a good sense of what the world does, where free zones are concerned, and the depth and growth opportunities that free trade zones or special economic zones, in our instance, can do for the country,” he said.