BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday hailed land developer Joe Whitter as a solid citizen who has made significant contributions to the development of western Jamaica, particularly in the Ironshore area in St James.
"The significant investments that he has made, particularly in Ironshore, is a testament to his foresight; we now have the luxurious Whitter Village and other developments," said Nathan Robb, president of the chamber.
Robb told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that Whitter was a valuable member of the chamber, noting that his wife Angella was recently made a director of the organisation.
Whitter died at the Cornwall Regional Hospital on Monday after ailing for several years. He was 81.
In expressing condolences on behalf of the chamber, Robb said the group was saddened by his passing, but expressed confidence that the "investments will continue for the betterment of the society".
Last night Whitter's widow, Angella, described her late husband as an astute businessman who gave a lot to the country.
"Mr Whitter had given back a lot to Jamaica. He has always been the person to give to sports, to health, to the churches, to the indigent, to education, the Cornwall Regional Hospital...," said Angella, his wife.
She noted that her husband, who was bestowed with the Order of Distinction (OD), Commander Class in 2011, was the "first black millionaire" in the United Kingdom.
Whitter, a native of St Catherine, decided to make Montego Bay his home in the 1970s after he returned from the United Kingdom where he amassed a large fortune, having owned and operated successful businesses there for more than three decades.
Yesterday, Angella told the Observer that her late husband had made significant property developments in the Ironshore area, which included the construction of the US$-million Golden Triangle in 1995, the establishment of the Ironshore Golf and Country Club, the construction of the Whispers Apartment and the US$40-million Whitter Village, which was opened by former prime minister Bruce Golding in 2010.
At that opening ceremony Golding told the gathering that the Whitter Village venture was an example of Whitter's commitment to Jamaica.
"He (Joe Whitter) represents in my mind a symbol, an icon that should be held up to investors both here and abroad. He represents the kind of spirit that we want to bring back to Jamaica," said Golding then.