New state-of-the-art business process outsourcing (BPO) office spaces at the Portmore Informatics Park in St. Catherine were commissioned by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on May 5.
Constructed by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), the additional buildings, comprising 157,000 square feet, complement the 50,000 square feet that previously existed, increasing the Authority’s BPO space in Portmore by 300 per cent.
Mr. Holness said the development is in furtherance of the Government’s priority to support the Global Services sector “and more importantly, it aligns with our strategic objectives to develop Jamaica’s newest parish and to enable its citizens to thrive”.
“This development also includes the upgrading of the original areas and buildings and overall space created for parking and… the four three-storey buildings have already been leased to four companies and currently have over 2,000 employees in place supporting banking and finance, air travel, electronics retail, healthcare telecommunications, E-commerce and energy,” the Prime Minister informed.
He noted that Portmore is ideal for BPO developments, as it has the highest concentration of university graduates in Jamaica and is, therefore, ready to tap into the knowledge economy through this industry, adding that Portmore is also “well-positioned to become the Silicon Valley of Jamaica”.
“That is why I have supported and encouraged the Port Authority and other private-sector companies to build these facilities, so that you can start to now really create the knowledge economy in Portmore,” the Prime Minister said.
He argued that while the BPO sector has challenges, “the truth is that it is the fastest growing employment-creation business in Jamaica, and regardless of the complaints, it is putting income in the pockets of over 52,000 Jamaicans; it is creating a basis and a ladder for progress, promotion and prosperity, so I want to give my full endorsement to the BPO sector”.
In his remarks, Chairman of the PAJ, Alok Jain, said the building of new BPO spaces represents another significant contribution by the PAJ in supporting Jamaica’s economic development.
He informed that in 2000, the PAJ expanded the development of BPO spaces to the Portmore Informatics Park, where 50,000 square feet of space were developed.
“Twenty-two years later, we stand here commissioning a further 157,000 square feet of space, increasing the total capacity [of the Park] to 207,000 square feet, with another 147,000 square feet on the horizon for phase two,” he said.
Mr. Jain noted that the PAJ has served as a catalyst and an incubator in advancing the BPO industry, providing a nurturing environment, facilitating investments as well as new client development and expansion.
“Over the years, in as much as we have grown our own spaces to 670,000 square feet, we have also supported private developments in Jamaica. In this regard, many investors have matured and migrated from PAJ-owned spaces and incubators. In the last decade, that migration has occupied over 600,000 square feet of space in several private developments across Jamaica,” he said.
President and CEO of the PAJ, Professor Gordon Shirley; Chairman, Kingston Free Zone Company Limited, Lyttleton Shirley, and Member of Parliament, St. Catherine South Eastern, Robert Miller, also brought greetings during the event.
The Portmore Informatics Park is being developed at a cost of $3.5 billion. The Park is managed by the Kingston Free Zone Company Limited.