On Saturday, April 16, 2011, the Chinese construction firm China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corporation (COMPLANT) officially handed over the keys for the Montego Bay Convention Centre to the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) at a luncheon which was staged at the Centre, located at Rose Hall, St. James. The event was attended by several Chinese and Jamaican representatives from the political, civic and business society.
According to Prime Minister Bruce Golding “We value our relationship with China, one of the most powerful nations, which is fast emerging as the most dominant in the world”. He further added that China is still classified as a developing country. “As a result, they understand the kind of challenges that we have to face. We are able to find common cause with China, because they understand our difficulties, they understand our hopes and aspirations. They have pledged to support Jamaica and countries like ours, in trying to find a better way to navigate this unfriendly international economic environment in which we find ourselves,” the Prime Minister stated.
Also speaking at the event, Su Zhong, Deputy Governor, EXIM Bank of China said “We have supported 7 projects in Jamaica, covering projects related to infrastructure and the well-being of peoples”. China EXIM Bank is willing to seek more extensive co-operation with Jamaica to strengthen bilateral economic and trade exchanges, promote respective economic development and consolidate our traditional relationship”.
In his address, Li Zhimin President of COMPLANT said “This Convention Centre is a symbol of friendship, between the people of our two countries. Its completion will enhance Jamaica’s capability to hold large-scale international conventions and further promote the development of Jamaica’s local tourism industry, making Jamaica an important hub in the Caribbean region for political, economic and cultural exchanges”.
The Centre which is the first of its kind in the English Speaking Caribbean was officially opened on January 7, 2011. After which, the first event, the Caribbean Market Place was held at the facility between January 16 and 18. In an attempt to ensure that the maximum potential of the centre is realized, the facility is currently being managed by a United States based international marketing company SMG.
The UDC through COMPLANT recently completed works at the Centre, which has been designed as a modern, state of the art facility, capable of hosting large and small meetings, conventions, conferences, exhibitions, banquets, weddings and other events. The facility boasts a total built public exhibition area of approximately 56,113 sq.ft with two halls divisible from one to four halls, pre function area and back of house offices, service and loading dock. The facility also features a banquet hall measuring 21,528sq.ft and divisible into three dining sections with a full service kitchen and separate loading dock area.
The Centre is also intended to enhance the tourism industry, to increase foreign exchange earnings and to provide additional employment for persons in the western region of Jamaica. The Project which began during February 2009, is funded by the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and the EXIM Bank of China.