CHINA HARBOUR Engineering Company (CHEC), which has proposed the use of the Goat Islands for a trans-shipment port, has indicated to the Jamaican Government that it has other options outside of the country.
Dr Omar Davies, the minister of transport, works and housing, who is playing a key role in facilitating the US$1.5-billion investment, made the disclosure Wednesday but said the Government had indicated it would not be rushing the process.
China Harbour has proposed the use of Goat Islands for the port as part of the country's logistics hub project. It has also proposed the construction of a causeway, which would lead to an economic zone in Old Harbour.
"The whole issue of negotiation is that parties stay in contact, and part of our job is to judge whether they are losing interest. We have conveyed to them that we have certain processes, and they are aware of this," Davies said.
He told journalists at Wednesday's Jamaica House press briefing that the Chinese investors were concerned about the slow pace at which the approval system works.
aware of criticisms
The minister said the Chinese were aware of the wide-ranging public sentiment regarding their proposed investment for Goat Islands but said he has explained to them that there were certain regulatory processes that had to be undertaken, including public discussions.
In the meantime, Davies has stopped short of saying the Chinese investment was inextricably tied into the availability of the Goat Islands for the project.
"This is not a Government of Jamaica project in which we are saying, here is a stretch of things, go and build that and we will finance it," Davies noted.
He added: "I am not suggesting that because someone is coming with their own financing they can dictate to you, but we have done what we can do. We have shown them alternatives; they indicated what their preference is. It is not that we can say no, don't go there, go there and build. They could say thank you very much, I am looking at other places, which they are."