SAJ hosts gov’t ministers for Newport West improvement talks
A crucial meeting to discuss the rehabilitation of the Newport West shipping community was organised by the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) with a high-level government team on Tuesday, August 23.
The meeting, which included a tour of the Kingston 13 business area, was attended by Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie. Permanent Secretary in the national security ministry, Courtney Williams, representatives of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Jamaica Constabulary Force, and others were also in attendance.
The SAJ was represented by its president, William Brown, immediate past president and businessman Charles Johnston, and CEO Trevor Riley, as well as operators from the community.
The gathering was the latest in a series of activities to engage relevant authorities to restore the commercial district which has been beset by numerous issues, including flooding, inadequate parking, poor drainage, inadequate traffic management, and security and safety concerns.
In responding to the concerns expressed, Dr Chang said the visit provided a look at the challenges facing those on the port. “The port is one of the most vital economic infrastructures in this region, the physical characteristics and the security features are crucial to continue growth and development. We can see signals of growth, but we see the challenges which we have to correct to maintain the growth,” Dr Chang said.
For his part, McKenzie said he will coordinate with the relevant ministries and agencies to address the issues, noting that they are “not beyond our capacity”.
The Newport West tour saw the visiting delegation being taken through the community, where several of the issues and problem areas were highlighted.
Previously, the association hosted Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson and members of his senior team for discussions on security and traffic arrangements in Newport West in January 2021.
Later than year, a similar meeting was held with representatives of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, Port Authority of Jamaica, the relevant government agencies and community stakeholders in July 2021.