President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, says the investment being made by the bank in support of the building of the Courtyard Marriot hotel in Jamaica, is a signal of the IDB’s firm belief in Jamaica and the direction in which the country is headed.
The property, located in the busy New Kingston financial district, is classified as a city/business hotel. It is being developed by a group of local investors and supported by the IDB. It is being constructed at a cost $1.75 billion and is expected to provide employment for approximately 430 Jamaicans, when opened for the summer 2015 tourist season.
Speaking with JIS News following a brief tour of the grounds, and a model room of the hotel, Mr. Moreno said the IDB “firmly believes in Jamaica” and will give it the support needed.
“We put our money where our mouth is. We have US$1.3 billion here in Jamaica … so we believe in Jamaica,” he told JIS News.
Mr. Moreno further pointed out that so strong is the IDB’s confidence in the country that the bank will be strengthening its presence in the island.
“We will be starting our own building because we need a larger and better office here in Jamaica and that should tell you something about where the IDB is regarding Jamaica,” he stated.
He noted that the IDB’s role in Jamaica is primarily about providing development support, and inspiring growth.
“How are we going to get growth in Jamaica? It’s private sector projects and private sector people, who are going to bring growth. So, it’s projects like this that will generate better mechanics, better trained young people, a hotel like this… can transform people’s lives,” he contended.
Mr. Moreno also pointed out that he is particularly pleased that the project is able to provide on-the-job training for young people benefitting under the Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP). This, he said, provides a “valuable tool for development, renewal and growth in any country.”
The IDB President, who arrived in the island earlier in the day, toured the Jamaica German Automotive School (JGAS), and made a presentation at an Investors Round Table at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. He is expected to attend a reception later this evening, to celebrate 45 years of IDB partnership with Jamaica.
Tomorrow (Dec.19), he will meet and hold discussions with Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller; Finance Minister, Dr. Hon. Peter Phillips; Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness; members of the private sector and trade unions, and break ground for the new IDB offices before departing the country in the afternoon.
By O. Rodger Hutchinson