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JAMPRO representatives Gail Barrett, Manager of Project Implementation (left) and Carol Straw, Manager of Tourism and Services (right) pose with Ruben Becerra, Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Business Development Karisma Hotels and Resorts Corporation, at the groundbreaking of the Sugarcane Bay tourism development being led by Karisma. (Photo contributed)

JAMPRO aims to break ‘new’ ground under Shovel Ready initiative

JAMPRO representatives Gail Barrett, Manager of Project Implementation (left) and Carol Straw, Manager of Tourism and Services (right) pose with Ruben Becerra, Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Business Development Karisma Hotels and Resorts Corporation, at the groundbreaking of the Sugarcane Bay tourism development being led by Karisma. (Photo contributed)

With the first investment project under its Shovel Ready initiative now underway, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) says it is working to attract similar mega-development investments to the island.

Last Friday, February 28, the agency’s top brass witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Karisma Sugarcane Bay Development — a project estimated to value US$1 billion.

Jamaica Promotions Corporation President Diane Edwards speaks to the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Sugarcane Bay Development project on February 28, 2020. (Photo contributed)

According to release from the marketing and export promotion agency, JAMPRO has been providing business facilitation services to the Karisma Development project since 2016.

In fact, JAMPRO President Diane Edwards boasts that the Shovel Ready initiative has provided the agency with a platform to work with companies, such as Karisma, looking for investment opportunities in Jamaica’s tourism sector.

JAMPRO President Diane Edwards (right) speaks to Juan José González Mijares, the Mexican ambassador to Jamaica, before the ground-breaking ceremony for the Sugarcane Bay Development project on February 28, 2020. (Photo contributed)

The president said, further, that agency has expanded its scope to attracting multifaceted tourism developments to Jamaica that not only focus on hotels. There is space for the creation of residential areas, commercial space, agricultural projects, and other services, Edwards pointed out.

“Tourism has always been a pillar of the Jamaican economy, but there are still areas that remain untapped in the sector. With projects like this and the Amaterra project in 2019, we see that there is great potential for these large tourism developments that are more than hotel developments, as they can create jobs and other opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, energy, services and other industries and sectors.”

“…We see that there is great potential for these large tourism developments that are more than hotel developments, as they can create jobs and other opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, energy, services and other industries and sectors”

— Diane Edwards, president, Jamaica Promotions Corporation

The aim of the Shovel Ready initiative is to facilitate large-scale developments at a faster, more efficient pace that allows for the flow of investment into Jamaica’s economy. As a result, with JAMPRO’s business facilitation services, investors can engage with government stakeholders that quickly oversee developments and approvals.

JAMPRO surpasses investment targets

For this reason, minister of state in the Ministry of Investment, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) Floyd Green heaped praises on the agency, which surpassed investment targets for 2019.

State minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green (right), greets Senior Vice-President of Business Development — Karisma Hotels and Resorts, Mario Mathieu, at the ground-breaking ceremony of the multi-resort development Sugarcane Bay Jamaica in Llandovery, St Ann, on February 28. Others (from second left) are senior advisor and tourism communications strategist in the tourism ministry, Delano Seiveright, and Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica Juan Jose Gonzalez Mijares.
(Photo: Ministry of Industry, Agriculture, Commerce and Fisheries)

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Karisma Sugarcane Bay Development, the state minister said, “Last year, our target in relation to how much US capital investment we would raise from JAMPRO was set at US$625 million and we did better than the target and brought in US$646.5 million.”

This has resulted in the creation of 16,540 jobs in JAMPRO-related projects in sectors such as energy, information technology, animation, and music.

Green used the occasion to also encourage the resort’s developers to work alongside farmers in the parish to secure produce for the restaurants on the property.

“We are planning, through our Agribusiness Council, to bring together teams from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, Tourism Enhancement Fund, Tourism Development Company, and our development partners to tie this development into our growth in agriculture,” he revealed.

The Karisma Sugarcane Bay Development sits on lands purchased for JAMPRO’s Shovel Ready initiative. The investment will create approximately 10,000 new jobs and generate about JM$850 million, MICAF said.