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Development Bank suggested that NHT buy Outameni

Published:Wednesday | December 3, 2014 | 9:26 AM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeil says the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) were suggested as possible buyers of the failed Outameni tourist attraction.

He says the Urban Development Corporation was also suggested.

McNeil told Parliament yesterday that the advice was provided by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) in May 2012, months before the NHT bought the attraction.

McNeil says the Permanent Secretary wrote to the DBJ in April of that year, requesting a financial analysis of Outameni, given the bank’s involvement with the attraction.

The DBJ was already involved with Outameni as the operators of the attraction, Orange valley Holdings, secured a 2005 investment from the National Investment Bank of Jamaica which later became a part of the DBJ.

The DBJ eventually wrote off the investment in 2013.

Meanwhile, Dr. McNeil says after recieving the DBJ’s analysis, his state minister Damion Crawford prepared a proposal for the purchase and use of Outameni as multipurpose entertainment and tourism facility.

He says the DBJ later advised that the proposal did not fit a public-private model as the Government would assume most of the risk.

McNeil says the DBJ recommended that if the Tourism Ministry viewed it as an important asset to its strategy, the Outameni property could be acquired through the Tourism Enhancement Fund.

And he says it was also suggested that the attraction could be acquired by the NHT.

However, McNeil says his ministry decided that it would take no further action in relation Outameni.

He says the DBJ's analysis was presented to the Transport, Works, and Housing Minister, Dr Omar Davies and the Education Minister Ronald Thwaites.

ARCHIVE ... SPECIAL REPORT: A trip to the Outameni Experience

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