Gov’t abandons bidding process for Caymanas Economic ZoneWednesday, May 28, 2014
By Balford Henry
THE Government has abandoned the bidding process seeking investors for the proposed economic zone for Caymanas Estates in St Catherine.
Cabinet decided to change the concept for the economic free zone and has appointed two teams to guide the process, according to industry minister, Anthony Hylton.
Now, the project is to be called Caymanas Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) in order to comply with the decision of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to phase out free zones by 2015.
"We have elected to transition from free zones to special economic zones, in keeping with the direction in which the world is moving," said Hylton.
A policy steering committee (PSC) and an enterprise team set up to oversee the CSEZ are supposed to attract large-scale investments in specific value-added industries, as well as facilitate the participation of the micro, small and medium sized business sector through a cluster approach.
The PSC is also responsible for developing the policy framework to govern the development of other designated areas in Jamaica, along with Caymanas.
Karl Samuda, who shadows Hylton from the Opposition, said it has "taken too long to get something done at Caymanas".
"This is one of our greatest opportunities lost," Samuda told Parliament. "Thousands of young people in southern St Catherine would today be going to work every day. That's an opportunity lost."
His take is that time spent searching for international investors would have been better directed at the local business community, which in his estimation has enough wealth to carry the project forward with sufficient motivation provided.
Vin Lawrence chairs the Caymanas Enterprise Team, while former Jampro president, Patricia Francis leads the PSC.
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