Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer
BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth:
THE ST Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, Black River chapter, has suggested that the Government seriously consider using the Font Hill property in the parish as a logistics hub.
Talks of creating a logistics hub have been set in motion by the expected expansion of the Panama Canal by 2015. As a result, Caribbean islands, including Jamaica, have started planning to expand wharves and port facilities into logistics hubs (integrated centres for transhipment, storage, collection and distribution of goods). The Government of Jamaica made known its proposal for the Chinese to develop the Goat Islands into a logistics hub.
This, however, was met with criticisms, as there were environmental concerns.
With this in mind, and being aware that the development of a logistics hub is vital to the Government's plans for economic revival, the members of the chamber said the Government of Jamaica, the Chinese investors, and all relevant stakeholders would find a better alternative in the Font Hill property.
Located on the south coast of the island, approximately eight kilometres west of Black River, president of the chamber, George G.T. Taylor said this location would offer a suitable alternative to the Goat Islands as it would offer sufficient space, with just over 2,600 acres of property. He also believes that the property which is owned and operated by Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica could be developed in an environmentally sustainable way.
While such a venture will influence a positive economic impact on the entire island, Taylor said the parishes in western Jamaica, especially St Elizabeth and Westmoreland, would receive much needed benefit.
"We would love to have this project in St Elizabeth. Such a development at Font Hill would be great for us here in St Elizabeth; in fact, all of Cornwall county.
"We will be engaging a consultant who will assist us with our presentation to the Government of Jamaica. It is very possible that the Font Hill development could be pursued in an environmentally sustainable way, provide jobs and business opportunities for people in St Elizabeth and provide the Chinese with the required amount of space," Taylor said.