Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Gov't can't underwrite Heroes Circle project - PM

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that the Jamaican Government will not be able to provide a sovereign guarantee for the multimillion-US-dollar project to develop Government Circle, comprising the construction of a parliament building, a museum, and offices for government ministries around National Heroes Circle in downtown Kingston.

He said that the principals of China Construction America (South America) division (CCASA) approached the Government with a proposal to carry out the project.

Responding to questions from Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips in Gordon House on Tuesday, Holness said that any other entity or group of investors can approach the Government with a similar plan and it will review both and make a decision.

"Once the plan is developed, then we move to the implementation phase, which would follow procurement guidelines," Holness added.

In March, the Government and CCASA signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the creation and development proposal for Kingston and adjoining areas. Holness said that the MOU was non-binding and non exclusive.

"The Government of Jamaica does not have the fiscal wherewithal to undertake such a project and underwrite it."

He said that estimates were coming out at between US$700 million to US$1 billion to carry out the entire project.

"So whoever is going to come and do it must be able to put down their own money because after you have cleared all the conversation, all the talk, if you don't have the first dollar for the first block, then it is only a dream."