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Montego Bay to get one-stop centre for government services

Published:Wednesday | February 27, 2019 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Business stakeholders have welcomed plans to establish a one-stop facility in Montego Bay to handle government-related services.

In an interview with The Gleaner following the announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness last Friday, Winston Lawson, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the announcement is great news for the western city.

“It ... certainly represents the right thinking and is a good fit for a development plan for the city,” said Lawson, a banker.

“It is a one-stop concept, which intrinsically facilitates greater efficiencies, and the chamber would be happy to see the next steps towards the implementation process to commence as soon as possible,” he added.

Businessman Mark Hart, the executive chairman of Caribbean Producers of Jamaica, while cautiously optimistic, said that he would support the initiative if it did not offer services that were already accessible via the Internet.

“I would welcome anything that is going to make things easier for the people on this side not to have to travel, but if it’s something that technology can do, I don’t think it’s necessary,” said Hart.

“Technology can take care of a lot of things online. I certainly don’t think we should be enlarging the size of the civil service for the sake of it. Use technology wherever possible instead of a physical structure and additional staffing,” he added.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism, recently toured land in Montego Bay where the State plans to establish government and performing-arts centres.

“Every city has to have public administration, and that public administration has to be accessible by all its citizens, but it also must reflect the dreams and aspirations and your own pride in your own government, your pride in your country, and in your own state,” said Holness at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Closed Harbour Beach Park on Montego Bay’s waterfront.

“It must also reflect the dignity of the State, it must reflect the efficiency of the State, and, therefore, we will be creating within the city of Montego Bay your own government centre, where all the services of the Government will be administered and easily available.”