Vernamfield lands to go into housing
The Government is to give up a portion of the Vernamfield lands in Clarendon to be used for housing, a move which Dr Omar Davies, the minister of transport, works and housing, said will not have an adverse impact on plans to construct a cargo airport in the area.
"The technical analysis is that the land which was meant for housing, which had been reassigned for possible realignment, was no longer needed for possible realignment," Davies said in Parliament last week.
"The original site was under discussion and would have precluded the completion of a housing scheme. I was told that the site was no longer needed and so they are going to release the land back for housing," he added.
Central Clarendon Member of Parliament Mike Henry has been pushing for the Vernamfield lands to be used for the development of an airport. Henry said that a plan approved by the Cabinet in 2009 involved creating a green-energy airport which would be part of a logistics hub.
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In 2009, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Port Authority of Jamaica and Surrey Paving and Aggregate following Cabinet's approval of a joint-venture project which should have led to the development of Vernamfield into an aviation park. It involved the provision of land for the hosting of the Caribbean Aerospace College, as well as space to do the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft. Close to $3 million has already been spent on the project and Henry said the college should have been completed by now.
Meanwhile, Minister Davies said the Government will not be spending any additional funds on the expansion of the Ian Fleming Airport in St Mary to allow it to receive the American Eagle-type aircraft.
"The Government of Jamaica will not be doing that. I have heard rumours, indications of persons to present to me an unsolicited proposal. None had been forthcoming, we are open to it," Davies said.
He said, too, that his information is that there are parties who are "ready and waiting to present" the unsolicited proposal.
Henry said that if expanded, Ian Fleming could be made into a hub that could service the southern parts of the United States and open up the north-east coast of Jamaica to tourism.