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Samuda defends Factories Corp move

Published:Wednesday | February 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Karl Samuda is rebutting criticism of the Government's plan to relocate the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) to New Kingston.

Even as he described the criticism as "sadly uninformed", a clearly displeased Samuda characterised the decision to relocate the FCJ offices to New Kingston as pragmatic and prudent.

A Gleaner editorial last Saturday took the Government to task for placing the FCJ offices uptown at a time when Prime Minister Bruce Golding had promised cheaper, more efficient use of office space for public entities.

Practical course

Samuda, however, contended that this was the most practical course available at this time.

Samuda, even while promising that a new building to house the investment, industry and commerce ministry would be constructed in the downtown commercial centre, argued that it was "patently impractical" to accommodate the FCJ offices elsewhere at this time.

The minister said the Government had to be forking out $1 million per year to pay rent at the FCJ's current location.

Samuda told The Gleaner that the Government had been given prior notice that the rental would have been hiked significantly.

He argued that it would cost the Government $4 million to retrofit an office at the FCJ.

"It was just not practical to operate from White Marl or the waterfront," he declared.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com