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Manchester hails news of MegaMart’s coming 

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer Staff Reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 23, 2012 | 1:45 PM    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester - Manchester Chamber of Commerce (MCOC) President Wendy Freckleton, has given an enthusiatic response to the announcement this week that the fourth MegaMart retail store will be located in Mandeville.

She said the $1.2-billion investment demonstrates confidence by businessman Gassan Azan, in the people of Manchester and the Chamber supports any entity that will create economic opportunities for persons in the parish.

The MCOC has been advocating for investment in the parish in its “Life After Bauxite” campaign which followed the 2009 closure of the Alpart plant in Nain St. Elizabeth and WINDALCO in Manchester- at the height of the global recession.

Bauxite was the mainstay of the economy in Central Jamaica for over fifty years.

The MegaMart investment in Mandeville is a build-own-lease deal put together by Scotia Investments. Freckleton said that other financial institutions in the area are encouraged to partner with other businesses to facilitate development in all sectors.

“With a vibrant Chamber of Commerce investors will be attracted to the parish knowing that there is a body that ensures that the town of Mandeville and by extension the parish of Manchester is conducive to do business. We welcome the MegaMart superstore, which will be the fourth in the island, to the parish of Manchester. The investment is a positive move by Mr. Azan and his company; in demonstrating his confidence in the people of Manchester. I am sure that it will be well supported by the residents of Central Jamaica. The Manchester Chamber of Commerce supports any entity that will create economic opportunity for those in our parish. We would like to encourage other companies to establish their business in our parish. I call on the financial institutions operating within our parish to look at how they could partner with other businesses in providing equity financing to ensure the growth and development of all sectors, as we move towards declaring Mandeville as the fourth city,” said Freckleton.  

Sally Porteous, Custos Rotulorum of Manchester, described the likely impact of Mega Mart in Mandeville as “tremendous” and was particularly happy that more than 200 people are slated to be employed.

“I hope more (business) people will come on board in this way,” she said.

It’s anticipated that the new investment will not only create over 200 new permanent jobs but also provide an additional market for Manchester’s small farmers.

Even as the development is welcomed the Manchester Parish Council and the Area Three police respectively, are notinmg that there will be greater need for traffic management and security.

Secretary/Manager at the Manchester Parish Council, Michael Morris said “the planners and developers will work out the traffic problems that may arise as a result.”

He also expects that competition will be boosted among retailers and the standard of service will be enhanced.

“MegaMart brings a higher level of retailing. I figure that the supermarkets in the parish, if not careful, their clients will be drawn to MegaMart. Hence, they will have to lift their standards,” he said.

Derrick Cochrane Assistant Commissioner of Police for Area Three, which consists of the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth, shares the view that “any investment that impacts unemployment is appreciated.

He said that when persons are gainfully employed they tend to deviate from anti-social behaviour.

However, Cochrane is mindful of how this investment could be an attraction for criminals and as such is prepared to tighten security operations in the parish.

“This mega investment will also require greater law enforcement initiatives to counter the criminal elements who have ill intent,” he said

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