Private sector supports focus on urban renewal
From left: Trevor Riley, Group CEO at SAJ; Michael McMorris, convenor for downtown Kingston redevelopment working group; Valerie-Joy Santos, senior urban development expert with the World Bank; Charles Johnston, JPG chairman; David Sislen and Elad Shenfeld, senior disaster risk management specialists at the World Bank; and Patricia Francis, director of JPG

Some members of the private sector have welcomed conversations on urban renewal as they commit to forge greater public-private partnerships to drive redevelopment efforts in the country.

The capital of Kingston, which has been earmarked for a number of redevelopment activities, was the centre of discussion at a recent luncheon event hosted by the Jamaica Producers Group (JPG) in partnership with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) and the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) as they entertained conversations with representatives of the World Bank Group.

The representatives in attendance from the World Bank included David Sislen, practice manager for urban and disaster risk management; Elad Shenfeld, senior disaster risk management specialist, and Valerie-Joy Santos, senior urban development expert.

The international funding organisation, which has long underscored private sector engagement as critical to the success of any development objective, is now in discussion with the Government to put in motion a redevelopment programme for downtown Kingston.

With urban renewal and sustainable development being cited as key pillars in the overall growth strategy for the country, the need for more public-private partnerships in creating a unified, collaborative, and strategic approach to achieving these objectives is believed to be urgently needed to achieve desired outcomes.

"There needs to be a vision for growth that is set up in conjunction with both the private and the public sector. Fundamentally speaking, the private sector really is the engine for growth in this nation. The problem we have seen is that often we each work in silos, thus we don't experience or benefit from the immense impact that is possible when we all come together," stated Charles Johnston, chairman of the JPG.

"For us, the objective of renewing blighted urban centres is to regenerate social and economic activity with a view to creating sustainable living and working space for communities, reduce crime, and foster environmental improvement," he further reasoned.

Trevor Riley, CEO of the SAJ, welcomed the need for greater partnerships, endorsing the need for stakeholders to work together as they pursue the needed redevelopments in downtown Kingston.

"The Shipping Association of Jamaica stands ready to play our role, and will continue to lead and support initiatives to improve Newport West, the community in which a significant number of our members operate their businesses. As the leading private sector body at the forefront of the march toward a logistics future for Jamaica, we will continue to advocate, introduce, and promote programmes that advance the industry and our community for the benefit of the nation as a whole," he said.

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