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CHEC reorganising to focus on Panama

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 4:00 AMNeville Graham

The CHEC Americas office in Kingston has been parting company with some of its local employees and transferring some of its expatriate workers to another regional location, in what sources say is a reorganisation.

Five Chinese nationals are said to have been transferred from Jamaica to Panama, while some 15 Jamaican executive, administrative and support staff have been cut. So far, this has seen CHEC Americas giving up a half of one of the two floors it occupies in New Kingston.

The construction company has confirmed that changes are under way, but declined to speak to the specifics.

"As adjustments are still being made in CHEC's organisational structure, the company has no comment to the specific questions below at this time," said spokeswoman Jennifer Armond.

"We wish to reaffirm, however, our continuing presence in Jamaica and strong commitment to undertake additional investments and projects for the mutual benefit of the company and the Government and people of Jamaica," said.

Armond emphasised that CHEC was in no way pulling out of Jamaica. The company's most recent project was the North-South Highway Link.

Meantime, the former head of CHEC Americas, Zeng Dong Tang, is said to have been promoted and transferred back to China as vice-president of China Harboour Engineering Company.

Tang has been replaced by Xiao Feng.

Pressed about the meaning of the staff transfers to Panama, Armond said it was a normal part CHEC's regional business operations to send talent where they are needed.

"CHEC is a large company which from time to time has to redirect resources, including personnel, to meet specific project needs without adversely affecting the company's operations in over 40 countries, including Jamaica," she said.

"While undertaking the projects in Jamaica, in particular the North-South Highway, the company is also focused on securing major infrastructure works throughout the rapidly expanding Central and South American countries, and with the opening up of the expanded Panama Canal on the near horizon, Panama is quickly evolving into a metropolis and international business centre," she added.

The expansion of the Panama Canal has suffered several delays, but is now expected to be commissioned by June 2016.