PM Welcomes Digicel’s Plans To Move Downtown, Next Year

Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding, has reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to ensuring that the right transport links, amenities and infrastructure, are in place for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston.

Mr.Golding made the statement Tuesday (October 27) responding to the announcement that Jamaica-based, regional telecommunications giant, Digicel , the largest mobile telecommunications operator in the Caribbean, will be moving offices to a brand new facility on the waterfront in downtown Kingston.

“We are very pleased that Digicel is supporting our downtown rejuvenation efforts and that it is once again displaying its leadership character, deep regard for and commitment to Jamaica, its people and its development. Ensuring that the right infrastructure, amenities and transport links are in place in good time for this move is an absolute priority for us,” Mr. Golding said.

Digicel announced Tuesday that it will be moving its Digicel Jamaica and Digicel Group offices downtown, next year.

“Jamaica is the home of Digicel, and we are proud of the deep connections we have built here. Since our inception here, eight and a half years ago, we’ve constantly set new standards in everything we do and the way in which we do it,” Group CEO of Digicel Colm Delves, stated in making the announcement.

“We have been looking for the right location to house our Digicel Group and Digicel Jamaica offices for some time. Our intention now is to spearhead the rejuvenation of downtown Kingston. This is a great opportunity for Digicel to bring its special brand of vibrancy and positive energy to an area that will benefit significantly. We’re proud to be leading the way and we are delighted to be working with the Government to pioneer this project,” he added.

A release from Digicel, said that the company is currently in the final stages of negotiating terms, and carrying out feasibility studies on a plot of land on the city’s waterfront.

In January, 2008, Mr. Golding signed contracts, valued at $251 million, for the construction of an urban transportation centre, as well as the redevelopment of St. William Grant Park, in downtown Kingston, projects which are being undertaken by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).

The Prime Minister revealed then, that the Cabinet had taken a decision to bar Government agencies from relocating from the area, to support the redevelopment process.

In June that year, the UDC announced a massive downtown Kingston redevelopment project, to be undertaken in partnership with the Kingston Restoration Company (KRC).

The UDC’s plan includes the replacement and revitalisation of the West Kingston market district, the establishment of a festival marketplace on the waterfront and the creation of the Ward Theatre cultural square. The Government also hopes to develop an international finance centre in the area.

Work has already commenced on the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre, at North Parade. The scope of works to be executed consists of the refurbishing of existing structures for a 350 seat multi-cultural centre and exhibit hall.

The Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre is expected to help re-establish the Parade area as the cultural district of the city. Construction of the centre will complement other cultural facilities in the Parade area, including the Ward Theatre and Liberty Hall, the restored headquarters of National Hero, The Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

To finance the project the Venezuelan Government has provided a grant of US$2 million, while a contribution of US$640,000.00 is to be provided by the Government of Jamaica.