News in brief

Published: Tuesday | December 10, 2013 Comments 0

JPS new hydro plant to save Jamaica over $430m

The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company is now in the final construction phase of its new Maggotty Hydroelectric Power Plant in St Elizabeth, which is expected to cut Jamaica's oil importation by 43,000 barrels of oil annually, saving the country approximately more than $430 million on a yearly basis using average current oil prices of US$100 per barrel.

The plant, which is expected to add 6.3 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, is part of the plan to add to the country's fuel-diversification effort.

The JPS said dry test commissioning activities are currently being undertaken on the plant's equipment and operating systems in preparation for its connection to the country's transmission and distribution network.

The power supply company said while the project currently employs 92 persons, at specific stages during construction, as many as 200 persons were employed.

The Maggotty plant will be the second one to be built on the current site and will bring the number of hydroelectric power plants operated by the JPS across the island to nine.

MoBay Creek Dome restoration under way

The St James Parish Council has started an $8-million project to restore the historic Creek Dome landmark.

The project is being undertaken with the help of the Tourism Enhancement Fund.

Although a declared Heritage Site, the landmark - located at the intersection of Creek and Dome streets in Montego Bay - has been in a dilapidated state for more than a decade.

The mayor of Montego Bay says the site will be restored beyond its original splendour and will also include a statue, befitting the history of the area.

The Creek Dome was built in 1837 and was once the only reliable water supply for the city of Montego Bay.

Mayor Harris says the St James Parish Council is looking at establishing a City Tour that will incorporate the Creek Dome and other historical markers across Montego Bay.

Minister invites student leader for visa talks

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites is extending an invitation to University of the West Indies (UWI) student leader Terron Dewar to have discussions on the call for the removal of student visa requirements for CARICOM nationals studying in Jamaica.

Last week, Dewar, the head of student government at the UWI, Mona, said he believed the requirement for a student visa breached the spirit of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the CARICOM integration movement in general.

The education minister says while the issue is one more suited for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UWI student leader should feel comfortable to approach his office with the concerns.

Upon arriving in Jamaica to study, regional students are initially granted a six-month visa, after which they have to pay $10,000 to clear subsequent immigration requirements.

The visa has to be renewed yearly.

The UWI student leader says regional students have consistently expressed frustrations at the requirements.

Invest in tourism, Byles tells J'can entrepreneurs

The president and chief executive officer of Sagicor, Richard Byles, is appealing to Jamaican entrepreneurs to invest in the local tourist industry.

According to Byles, in the past 18 months, his company has invested more than U$50 million in the sector; however, he says there is clear need for further development.

Byles was speaking on the weekend during the official opening of the Jewel Paradise Hotel, the third resort of the brand to be opened in Jamaica.

According to Byles, Sagicor's US$50-million investment in the tourist sector in under two years is a vote of confidence in the local economy.

The new 225-room Jewel Paradise Hotel has pushed to 741 the number of hotel rooms operating under the Jewel brand.

The Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill, says the nature of the tourism industry dictates that it is approached as a partnership.

He also says Jamaica's tourism sector is performing well mainly because of the unstinting support from committed partners and outstanding team members.


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