Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
NERVOUS ABOUT a proposal from China Harbour Construction and Engineering Company (CHEC), Dr Lloyd Cole, who 23 years ago conceptualised the idea of a dry dock in Clarendon, said he is concerned the Chinese project could torpedo his plan.
Robert Pickersgill, the environment minister, has indicated to the Chinese that the Government is giving serious consideration to their proposal for the establishment of port facilities and an industrial park at Goat Islands, located off the coast of Old Harbour, St Catherine.
However, the environmental watch has opposed the development, and the Government has said the proposal will have to be subjected to the usual developmental proposal, which includes an environmental impact assessment.
On Friday, Cole told The Sunday Gleaner that the Chinese have "more than just investment" at the heart of its proposal.
"It is not because they love me or they love you. One of the purpose is the hegemony that they have in trying to be a colonial big-time king," Cole said.
Jamaicans should have major stake
He argued that if the Goat Islands proposal goes ahead, it could kill the prospects for Jackson Bay, the place he said is ideally suited for the logistics activities.
"I would prefer to see Jamaicans having a major stake in this thing," Cole said.
"It must not be just Goat Islands becoming a dry dock ... it should be made clear where that dry dock is going to be, and the least offensive place to the environment is Jackson Bay," added Cole, who is CEO of the International Dry Dock Services and Allied Facilities, which has been lobbying for the Jackson Bay project.
The Government is seeking to establish a global shipping and logistics hub to take advantage of what it describes as "an enviable window of economic opportunity for Jamaica" with the expansion of the Panama Canal.
According to Investment Minister Anthony Hylton, Jamaica is poised to take advantage of the window of opportunity to establish itself as a major hub for shipping and logistics in the Western Hemisphere.
This investment opportunity is considerable and includes the implementation of at least five different elements, namely the dredging of the Kingston Harbour and expansion of the port facilities; the establishment of a dry-dock facility at Jackson Bay, Clarendon; the establishment of a bunkering facility at Cow Bay in St Thomas; the construction of a cargo and maintenance, repair and operations facility at Vernamfield, Clarendon; and the development of the Caymanas Economic Zone in St Catherine.