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Ward Avenue ICT Facility Will Open Later This Year — Bunting



Sep 13, 2015


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Ward Avenue ICT facility will open later this year — Bunting

By: Alicia Sutherland | Jamaica Observer

September 13, 2015

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The proposed summer deadline has now passed for the opening of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) facility being established at Ward Avenue here to provide large scale employment, but it is expected that by the end of this year the plans will fall into place.

Central Manchester Member of Parliament Peter Bunting made the announcement while addressing students at the Northern Caribbean University’s (NCU) flagship campus in Mandeville on Thursday.

“We are hoping for this (ICT centre) to open in the last quarter of this calendar year. Somewhere between October and December you should start seeing persons employed and taken on. It will grow to over a thousand by next year but (it will) obviously start with a hundred, or 200 and grow like that. But very rapidly we are up to between a thousand and two thousand persons employed,” he told the audience at the Gymnatorium on the campus.

Bunting said that the inclusion of an ICT facility in the community is part of a broader vision to transform the constituency into a “centre of excellence for the knowledge-based industries” as he see its possibility to provide a large number of jobs, particularly to young people.

The establishment in Mandeville, which is providing 70,000 square feet of ICT space, has had many residents in Manchester and adjoining parishes of Clarendon and St Elizabeth eagerly waiting for the chance to benefit and improve their livelihoods; owing to the negative and far-reaching impact of the 2009 downturn of bauxite/alumina companies, Alpart and Windalco (formerly Alcan), which had been the main drivers of the economy in Central Jamaica for decades.

However, the loading of a cargo ship with 35,000 tonnes of bauxite for export from Port Kaiser in St Elizabeth last week has been hailed by industry stakeholders as a significant move towards full resumption of the UC Rusal Alpart bauxite/alumina operations.

Alpart is the largest alumina refinery in Jamaica and its Russian owner, UC Rusal, has committed to reopening the refinery at Nain, south-east St Elizabeth, in December 2016.

Even as bauxite mining is being revived, the efforts have continued to look at the other avenues to fuel the re-development of the economy in Central Jamaica, which was most impacted by the fall out.

Ward Avenue ICT facility will open later this year — Bunting

By: Alicia Sutherland

September 13, 2015

The Government-owned Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is a main investor in the ICT project in Mandeville and local construction firm Black Brothers owns the building.

United States-headquartered Sutherland Global Services, which already operates ICT services elsewhere in Jamaica, has been selected as the organisation to manage the Ward Avenue facility.

Bunting told the students that the way in which Sutherland Global operates its businesses allows university students to benefit by working part-time to fund their education.

“What’s really interesting about this particular company is that they design their outsourcing centres for university students to work there part-time and help pay their way through school,” he said.

Bunting said that apart from ICT, education and health will be the other major pillars on which the Centre of Excellence for Knowledge-based Industries will be built to develop not just Manchester, for which he has responsibilities as Member of Parliament, but the rest of Central Jamaica.

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