JA Gov't, Chinese close in on Goat Islands deal

After months of speculation, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) confirmed that Goat Islands will be the site of a Chinese seaport. The port, which will form a part of the much-touted logistics hub, will provide 10,000 permanent jobs. The area to be developed will total 600 acres, he said.

Jamaica’s Goat Islands Photo: Jeremy Francis
Jamaica’s Goat Islands
Photo: Jeremy Francis
Goat Islands are cays situated in the Portland Bight Protected Area, an expanse of 1,876 km from Hellshire in St Catherine to Rocky Point in Clarendon. Portland Bight, which is the subject of two international conventions, boasts a largely undisturbed dry limestone forest which scientists say is one of the few remaining in the region. It also features coral reefs, mangroves, and sea grass, and is home to several endemic species, including the Jamaican iguana, which was brought back from the brink of extinction under a programme managed by the University of the West Indies, Hope Zoo in Kingston and a host of others in the US.

The Goat Islands port project is to be developed by China Harbour Engineering Company, and will begin with the development of an industrial park for the storage, assembling and packaging of goods in light industries, heavy industry manufacturing, information technology, and skills training. Work will include the building of bridges, roads, pipelines and water storage facilities, warehouse, and a container terminal.

Jamaica’s Governor General has appointed a Commission of Enquiry to examine the events that led to attempts to extradite Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke in May 2010.

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen announced the three-member Commission. They are Chairman, Sir David Simmons, retired Chief Justice of Barbados and former attorney general of Barbados; Justice Hazel Harris, a retired judge of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica; and Velma Hylton, former puisne judge of the OECS (St Kitts and Nevis) and former DPP of the Bahamas and Grenada.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said Monday, “After Cabinet received the Public Defender’s Interim Report and accepted his recommendation that there be a Commission of Enquiry into the Events in Western Kingston of May 2010, the Government prepared and published a Discussion Draft of the Terms of Reference, and sought comments from the public.”

It added that “several substantive responses were received. The Discussion Draft was subsequently amended in light of the comments received from the public.”