Sat | Oct 20, 2018

PM urges DBJ to fast-track completion of Harmony Cove project

Published:Sunday | October 9, 2016 | 11:23 AM
The Harmony Cove original master design.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has urged the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to fast-track the development of the beleaguered Harmony Cove project, a multi-billion dollar hotel and casino resort in Trelawny.

Addressing the DBJ’s Strategic Planning Retreat for Boards of Directors at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Friday, Holness said the development has great potential to drive economic growth and advance Jamaica’s place in the tourism market.

“This project is one that the DBJ needs to take a very serious look at. The Government is very anxious that this be done. (My) charge to the board is to get on with this project. We have to make some decisions on it; we have to move ahead,” he said.

Harmony Cove is owned by the DBJ and the National Housing Trust (NHT), via Harmonisation Limited, which is planning the development of the mega resort and casino, projected to have as many as 5,000 rooms.

It has been reported that ground is to be broken for the first phase of the project in 2017, which will see to the construction of the first 1,000 rooms valued at US$900 million.

The prime minister, meanwhile encouraged the DBJ to strengthen its capacity to manage risks as it strives to place greater focus on projects geared at development.

“A shift has to take place in how we deal with risks. In everything there is risk, but you have to be able to properly calculate it, assess the outcomes, the effects, the possible benefits and loss, and manage it,” he said.

Holness, however, hailed the DBJ for fulfilling its mandate to promote business development, through projects such as its Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) programme, which focuses on innovation, small business and young entrepreneurs.

He also called on the DBJ to speed up the way it divests projects to the private sector, in line with the Government’s push for greater public-private partnerships.

He said the development bank must also play a critical role in ensuring that there is collaboration between local and foreign investors, so that Jamaicans can have some ownership in large enterprises which invest locally.