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Designated Public Beaches In Jamaica To Be Upgraded This Fiscal Year



Designated public beaches will be upgraded this fiscal year, to improve the overall experience of Jamaicans, says Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.

Speaking at the official ceremony to break ground for the 700-room RIU Aquarelle in Coopers Pen, Falmouth, on April 20, Mr. Holness said this is being done to facilitate the Government’s commitment to good governance and the unwavering belief that Jamaicans should be able to enjoy the natural assets of their country.

He emphasised that public beaches must be protected, where the people can continue to enjoy a proud national pastime and where families and communities can have easy access.

“At a minimum, where applicable, each beach will be getting changing areas and restroom facilities, perimeter fencing, parking, gazebos, bandstands, children’s play areas, walkways, electricity, water, sewerage treatment facilities, among other amenities,” the Prime Minister noted.

“We never escape our history, and our history has not always been kind to the generations. But as the generations progress and we emerge as new leaders, we must ensure that we don’t make the mistakes of the past, that we don’t dispossess our people of their natural assets, and that as we pursue economic development, which we oftentimes conceptualise in buildings and roads, that we do not deprive the people of the use of their natural assets,” Mr. Holness added.

He said the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), which has already begun consultations with several communities across the island, will be financing the beach-upgrade initiative “with at least one to be addressed in each parish”.

“Development must take place with Jamaica’s social context in mind,” the Prime Minister argued.

In the meantime, Mr. Holness said that despite the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) being withdrawn, Jamaicans should continue to make good decisions regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, noting that it remains a clear and present danger.

“We are strongly recommending that you continue to wear your mask, sanitise… maintain social distance and exercise a degree of caution. That vigilance [however] must be exercised by the individual,” the Prime Minister noted.

“Entities such as hotels, schools, and other institutions can maintain their own protocols while the Government will, from time to time, give an indication as to what the high-level threats are, and from that you can implement your own measures that you would require. It’s up to the individual to make responsible decisions,” he added.

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clive drummond
clive drummond
8 months ago

After visiting the Bluefields Beach & Park in Westmoreland recently,i am totally disappointed in the condition of this favorite pastime of mine.
The infrastructures;the Roadway,the facilities etc,were in serious disrepair,the Water way seemingly has lost its sereenly blue lustre,there were no Life Guards on Duty,No toileteries and most importantly a query of a seemingly “capture of Public Land space’ by the elitist Resident on the most southerly section of the beach was questionable.Rumor has it that the owner of this property is using all their gov’tmnt and political influence to take over this public beach and privatize it with little menial offals to the the general public.( and with the usual likky-likky Politicians,anything is possible) I personally think that a New survey should be done to demarcate the Boundaries of this Public Park…Some one should request this from UDC or the Parish Council or any Land Development facility.

Businessuite News24

Jamaican MSMEs Benefit from $13 Billion in Gov’t Funding Support



A total of $13 billion in affordable loans and credit guarantees were provided for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) by the Government during fiscal year 2022/23.

This was disclosed by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, during the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica’s 41st annual marketing seminar at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, on Wednesday (April 5).

The provision formed part of Government’s efforts to improve MSMEs’ access to financing.

Senator Hill said the Ministry, through the National Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, provided special soft loans at an interest rate of 4.75 per cent for eligible MSMEs.

He indicated that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were able to access up to $25 million, and micro businesses a maximum of $5 million, for up to five years.

“Short and medium-term loans have been disbursed to MSMEs in a range of sectors. That $13 billion involves guarantees, including DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica) not just the EXIM Bank. These efforts serve to stimulate growth and develop unfunded MSMEs, particularly where there is great potential for value-added products which are poised for export,” the Minister said.

Senator Hill assured that the Ministry will continue to extend tangible support to the MSME sector.

“The Ministry is also mindful of how it needs to lead MSMEs. The rebranding exercise on which we embark is a demonstration to others that there is need for [the] assessment of strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, Senator Hill said greater focus must be placed on exports to reduce Jamaica’s trade gap.

Citing 2021 data, the Minister said Jamaica imported products and services valued at US$5.975 billion, as against exports valued at US$1.441 billion, pointing out that “the negative balance is US$4.5 billion”.

Senator Hill emphasised that more goods and services need to be exported in order to begin closing the deficit.

He challenged fledgling marketers attending the conference to develop a jingle that promotes exports and, by extension, Brand Jamaica.

“When you do that and you bring it in, I will make sure that we fold our brand around it and make sure it works,” the Minister said.

Senator Hill maintained that Jamaicans should also continue to create products and services that will make the country competitive and successful in overseas markets.

Meanwhile, he urged the marketers to consistently aim for excellence and to do so to the best of their ability.

“Anytime you are doing anything, including running a business, you must think about everything, and everything you put your hand to and your mind, must be excellence,” Senator Hill added.

Seminar Day Programme Lead, Alanis Blake, explained that the session aimed to bring together stakeholders to discuss relevant topics and issues within the global environment and its relation to marketing.

The seminar was held under the theme ‘Branding Matters: Marketing Strategies Meaningful Engagements’.

The UTech Jamaica Marketing Seminar is the longest running student-led academic conference in the Caribbean.

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Businessuite News24

Factories Corporation to Invest JA$872 Million in Capital Projects



The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) plans to undertake capital investment projects valued at $871.71 million for the 2023/24 fiscal year.

This is outlined in the 2023/24 Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, tabled in the House of Representatives by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, recently.

Under the programme, work will be undertaken on Garmex Free Zone Phase 2, with the construction of three buildings totalling 96,000 square feet of space to include two warehouses, commercial building, and a guardhouse.

Plans are also in place to commence the development of Garmex Free Zone Phase 3, which will comprise the construction of four warehouse-type buildings on 5.7 acres of land.

The FCJ is also seeking to upgrade and improve other facilities to make them more attractive and supportive of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector.

Meanwhile, the Morant Bay Urban Development Centre, which is being implemented via a joint-venture agreement, will remain a key developmental project during the year.

The document noted that construction is now under way, and the project will be phased over the next two years.

The FCJ was incorporated under the Companies Act of Jamaica in 1987 and is wholly owned by the Government of Jamaica.

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Black Castor Oil – Liquid Gold Untapped In Jamaica



Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (right), is shown a bottle of black castor oil by Jovaughn Bailey of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, during the Jamaica Bauxite Institute’s (JBI) Castor Industry Forum, dubbed ‘Black Castor Oil – Liquid Gold Untapped’, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on March 15.

Farmers and other stakeholders are being encouraged to collaborate to explore the full potential of the local castor bean.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, who made the call, said there is an opportunity to tap into the high demand for Jamaican Black Castor Oil, noting that the global market for the product is valued at up to US$100 million.

“This is a truly Jamaican product that must carry brand Jamaica in every way; and I suggest that a committee be established, comprising the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), Jamaica 4-H Clubs, the Scientific Research Council (SRC), the processors, farmers, JAMALCO, Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU), and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), under the chairmanship of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA),” Mr. Hutchinson said.

He was speaking at the JBI’s Castor Industry Forum, dubbed: ‘Black Castor Oil – Liquid Gold Untapped’, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on March 15.

Mr. Hutchinson said, to realise the potential of the local castor bean, Jamaica needs to have a structured programme which ensures that processors have consistency of supply.

Currently, the product, which has gained popularity worldwide, is not a major farm crop in the island.

“This is too much of an important [product] for it to be faltering by the wayside. I feel strongly about it; so, let us, together, make it work,” Mr. Hutchinson said.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., in his remarks, cited the need for training, organisation and planning to maximise opportunities in the industry.

“Across the world, you are looking at US$75 million to US$100 million [worth] of opportunity in this liquid gold; so, we have a massive global opportunity. There is more than enough reason to move to develop the local castor industry,” he said.

“Now, more than ever, when we push for ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’, we are saying to Jamaica, it is essential to understand the sector and to utilise every inch of land, refine the processing and utilise the research and development to maintain our standards,” the Minister added.

Mr. Charles urged farmers to ensure they understand and look closely at the science, the different types of seeds, and how they will fare in different parts of the island, before planting.

Currently, a study is being done on the Jamaica black castor bean at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, under the leadership of Director of the Mona Institute of Applied Science, Dr. Howard Reid.

This is being undertaken through a grant facilitated by the JBU and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Upon conclusion, the findings will guide the process of securing the intellectual property rights of the Jamaica Black Castor Oil for the country.

For many years, several companies globally have been producing their own oil, but falsely labelling it ‘Jamaican’.

President of the Jamaica Castor Industry Association (JCIA), Courtney Haughton, said most of the products being marketed as Jamaican Black Castor Oil are fake.

“The only way we can claw back what is ours is if we secure our intellectual property rights. The process includes [the] research now underway at the Mona Institute of Applied Science,” he noted.

Other engagements include standardisation of the product with assistance from the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), and producers’ compliance in meeting product standard acceptance in the global market.

Registration at the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) will be the next step, and initial dialogue has begun.

“Our next objective is to protect market integrity, because we will need strategic alliances with people who have the capacity to seek out those in violation of our rights and protect us through legal action,” Mr. Haughton said.

The association has also forged partnerships with the National Council on Technical Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) and the JBU, to develop a curriculum for training and certification of industry participants.

Already, there is a Level One Module for planting, reaping and storage of castor beans, which has been ratified by the NCTVET Board.

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Businessuite News24

Invest Jamaica 2022 Delivers Best In Class Showing And Good Initial Results



The Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference, under the theme “Jamaica: The Nearshore Delivery Hub of the Caribbean”, held November 29 – 30 at the Montego Bay Conference Centre, has been commended as a success by participants, following two days of intense engagement among local and international private sector participants and government officials.

The event hosted 350 physical attendees with approved registrants from 51 countries, more than 250 scheduled business-to-business (B2B) meetings, seven insightful panel discussions and 11,114 viewers via live stream (YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook). Staged in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through the Global Digital Services Sector (GDSS) Project, the Conference was led by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).

Senator the Honourable Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce, stated, “Invest Jamaica 2022 provided a great nexus for engagement on local and foreign direct investment interest for Jamaica, while showcasing very well why Jamaica is a premier investment destination and an ideal place to do business. “

Invest Jamaica 2022 has as its objective, to generate investment interest in priority sectors which will be vigorously pursued to be realised as investment projects in the years to come. The conference was the meeting point for senior executives and government officials from across the globe. Panel discussions unearthed strategic focus and disruptive solutions for the six main featured sectors of investment opportunities: Logistics, Special Economic Zones, Global Digital Services, Agribusiness, Manufacturing, and Tourism. The conference also gave special space to showcase the gains of Jamaica’s financial ecosystem.

A unique feature of Invest Jamaica 2022 was the Pitch Platform, sponsored by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA). The Pitch Platform featured presentations/pitches on nine (9) packaged investment projects spanning Special Economic Zones, Agribusiness, Manufacturing, Solid Waste to Energy and as well as a creative component featuring two Jamaican short films, Ego Sum and Sink or Swim. The shorts received rave reviews by the outstanding conference host, Dr Terri-Karelle Reid and the attendees.

Invest Jamaica was also supported by sponsors Jamaica Special Economic Zones Authority (JSEZA), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and NCB Capital Markets.

Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is an Agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, whose mission is to drive economic development through growth in investment and export.

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EXIM Bank Earmarks JA$100 Million to Assist SMEs Expansion Online



Managing Director, National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank), Lisa Bell (left), and Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Kamesha Blake, display a folder with the partnership agreement signed by both organisations for the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’, to assist small and medium-sized enterprises, on Friday (September 16), at the Bank’s headquarters in St. Andrew. Observing is Business Development Consultant, EXIM Bank, Winston Lawson.


The National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank) has earmarked $100 million for an e-commerce fund to assist small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in expanding their businesses online.

Through a partnership with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ will finance up to 80 per cent of the associated costs of critical inputs for SMEs which are in the process of or are interested in trading through an e-commerce platform.

The facility offers up to $5 million per entity, at a rate of five per cent per annum. It is a medium-term, non-revolving, secured loan, with up to three months moratorium on the principal repayments, where required.

During the launch on Friday (September 16), at the EXIM Bank’s headquarters on Hope Road, St. Andrew, Business Development Consultant, Winston Lawson, said while there are “vast and potentially impactful advantages” of operating a business in the virtual space, the inputs that drive sales may require funding.

These inputs, he noted, include: the relevant equipment and systems; registration of a domain; server setup; hosting services; development of a website and security features; high quality product shots and videos for website catalogue; establishment of payment gateways; search engine optimisation and online marketing, and copywriting and inventory management.

Mr. Lawson said it is hoped that the new facility will increase export sales and upgrade the SMEs’ e-commerce platforms to reach global markets.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sancia Bennett Templer, for her part, endorsed the initiative, stating that “we fully support funding for e-commerce.”

“It is clearly part of the broad ecosystem that the Prime Minister [the Most Hon. Andrew Holness] speaks about in terms of making Jamaica a digital economy,” she said.

Mrs. Bennett Templer noted that the Ministry continues to work on various programmes geared towards MSMEs and technology, in addition to the efforts of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to support the digitisation of the country’s small business sector.

Managing Director, EXIM Bank, Lisa Bell, who also welcomed the “glorious partnership”, said the institution’s intention is to offer support to SMEs in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, where consumer patterns have changed globally.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer, JMEA, Kamesha Blake, congratulated the EXIM Bank for providing alternative financial solutions and niche products to drive business expansion and economic growth in Jamaica.

Financing under the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ are accessible directly from the EXIM Bank, and the customary standings for business lending will be upheld.

For more information, persons can contact the bank through their website:

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