Thu | Jul 18, 2019

Growth & Jobs | Clarendonians to be employed under Vernamfield project

Published:Tuesday | October 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM

A census is to be conducted shortly in the communities surrounding the US$2.5-billion Vernamfield development project site in Clarendon.

This was disclosed by Project Manager for the implementation of the Vernamfield project, Colonel Oscar Derby, who will be coordinating and overseeing all the activities pertaining to the project.

"We have to know the demographics, (that is) how many people are living in the areas, and how many households," he said, while addressing a Vernamfield Development Town Hall Meeting, held at the Power of Faith Ministries, Gimme-Me-Bit, Clarendon, last week Thursday.

Dubbed, 'Aerotropolis Vernamfield', the project, which is about to enter its first phase, involves the development of lands that previously housed an army base, as an aerodrome to provide international air cargo and logistics services, maintenance, repair and overhaul services and an aeronautical training school.

Colonel Derby informed that the surveys will be done by engaging persons under the Government's Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme, which provides educational and job opportunities for young people.




He noted that the majority of the persons in that programme who will be conducting the surveys and other activities, will be drawn from the community, "because it has to be persons who know the community and know the community well."

"They will be given six weeks training in values, attitude and work ethics, and then they will undergo an apprenticeship in whatever area of activity they are going to participate, during the project," Colonel Derby said.

"This will include maintenance of the airport after it is bushed. So, the youth in the community will be recruited under that programme and will the extent that the programme allows," he added.

It is expected that other persons from the community will also be employed under the project.

In the meantime, Colonel Derby said the project's phase one activities, which begin this month, involves the development of the first 170 acres of land designated for the project and is to be undertaken by the Airports Authority of Jamaica.

This will include de-bushing and clearing of the existing north-south runway to accommodate aircraft up to a specified size. The phase is to run over a nine-month period.

A sum of $300 million has been set aside to carry out the initial activities, which also include erecting fences and gates, primary electrical connection and distribution, and runway testing and rehabilitation.

"Very soon, the contractor for the bushing will be starting that job and you will see Vernamfield begin looking more like an airport, rather than just a track to go from Gimme-me-Bit to the other road," Colonel Derby told community members.

Aerotropolis Vernamfield will offer bulk, manufacturing and logistics facilities as well as business to over 150 countries in Asia, the Americas, Western Europe and Africa's West Coast.