Holness: Too much bureaucracy around

BY HORACE HINES
Staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 14, 2019

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STEWART CASTLE, Trelawny — Prime Minister Andrew Holness is lamenting that since he has taken over the helm of Government, much of his time has been absorbed in attempting to resolve the inherited legacy of bureaucracy, which he described as an impediment to economic growth.

“We lament that there is this bureacracy problem that for historical reasons, for maybe sometimes political reason and maybe sometimes just lethargy, we don't get things done as quickly as we should. It is something that I spend a lot of time on, not because I am directly focused on these issues, but more so because I stand at the intersection of these issues. So they come to me for resolutions. And as prime minister I find that I dedicate quite a bit of my time to resolving legacy issues. Problems left behind unsolved and this was one of them,” Holness stated.

He underscored that he is on a mission to make a paradigm shift from the antiquated standards which result in delaying the progresss of business.

“...The effect of it (bureaucracy) is that our economy doesn't grow. The effect of it is that we see the malaise and blithe that takes on our society, whilst people sit down and say we are doing it strictly by the book — a book that is outdated, a book that they don't print anymore, a book that does not apply to modern-day business, a book that is going to keep us poor. My job is to change that book. We need a new book, a new way of thinking so that we can have more projects (Amaterra development) like these,” the prime minister argued.

He was speaking on Friday at the Ameterra Group's groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of an 800-room resort on the picturesque beachfront property in Stewart Castle, Duncan's, Trelawny in the first phase, to be followed by another 400 rooms in the second phase. The projection is for 8,000 hotel rooms to be constructed on the 1,000-acre property over time.

Amaterra is a fully integrated resort and residential development, developed by Trelawny Keith Russell, his wife, Paula Russell; and international partners, Tourism & Leisure Development International owner, Francisco Fuentes, along with Mustangs Deria and and Guillermo Velasco, owners of Rexton Capital Partners Limited.

Keith Russell, who is a former Trelawny Northern Member of Parliament, cited that the development has come to fruition after starting three decades ago.

“This is the end of a well-planned journey by Paula and myself. When we started this journey 30 years ago we thought it would be a 10-year sprint, at best. As it turned out, it has been a 30 years run. So it has taken some time, it did not go according to script. When I started and when Paula started we both had black hair,” he quipped.

The prime minister argued that the project should not have taken that long.

“Keith, it should not have taken 30 years. It just should not have taken that long to see this project come to fruition. There are many more projects in the pipeline which my hands are down there deep trying to pull them out,” Holness noted.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett congratulated Russell for the project, which upon completion will boast a township, resorts, entertainment facilities, theme park, pedestrian town centre, manufacturing facilities, special economic zones, among other things.

He argued that the former parliamentarian's vision “mirrored what we are talking about to this new tourism”.

“We are actually reimagining tourism. And we are creating a tourism in Jamaica that is inclusive, and one of the vision for us is to establish a tourism integration development arrangement that will be embodied in something called a Tourism Innovation City. And the objective of that innovation city is to enable the plant or the hotel to become the fulcrum around which the economic development and social development of the entire communities around it is predicated,” Bartlett argued.

Chief Communications Strategist and Advisor in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright, said the project “highlights a very united and focused governmental sheparding of Mr and Mrs Keith Russell and his international partners which includes powerful Qatari Investors”.

“The first-class piloting by JAMPRO and it's influential directors, we will see over the years a game-changing development that goes well beyond tourism. The focused attention on ensuring that Jamaicans, once rational, benefit significantly at every juncture is also noteworthy and one for other investors to emulate,” Seiveright remarked.


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