CHEC denies claims it's checking out of JA
The China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has denied claims that it is turning its attention to Central America by scaling down operations in Jamaica due to its exposure to rampant criminality.
"I don't think so," said communications manager of CHEC Americas, Jennifer Armand, in response to Gleaner queries. "We still have our full cadre of workforce in that area. It is the headquarters that has been affected, so our interest in Jamaica has not changed," said Armand.
She, however, confirmed that CHEC was transferring major aspects of its infrastructure to Panama in Central America. She told The Gleaner that the company was focusing on broadening its business interests in that section of the world.
"We are definitely ramping up our activities in Central America, and have sent staff there as we have projects there that we are seeking to secure," she said. "But we are giving Jamaica and the Caribbean the same amount of attention and are definitely not reducing investments here."
Hoodlums recently picked up where they left off last year in Bog Walk, St Catherine, where four men were murdered as they transported the payroll for CHEC. Although security has been beefed up at the construction facility in Chalky Hill, in the aftermath of last year's killings, thugs continued to unleash terror on the area in a series of criminal activities that have left workers in fear. However, Armand stressed that the Chinese company was not retreating from the thugs.
She referred to an earlier statement that CHEC was continuing its presence in Jamaica with a strong commitment to undertaking additional investments and projects for the mutual benefit of the company and the Government and people of Jamaica.
Armand said that 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.