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UDC Committed to Participatory Process for Government Circle Project

General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation Dr Damian Graham has assured that the Corporation “will be working out appropriate ways to recognise the contribution of participating professionals” during the development of a section of Heroes Circle in downtown Kingston into a 'Government Circle'. Main features of the project will be the inclusion of a new Parliament building, replacing the current one on Duke Street in the island’s capital. 

Last month (March), the Government inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China Construction America (CCA) which is a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd. (CSCEC) — one of 
the world’s largest investment and construction groups and a Fortune 500 company —operating  in North and South America.  
The MOU provides for the UDC and CCA to collaborate in relation to the preliminary phase of the Government Circle Project which will include the creation of a development proposal, the sharing of knowledge, technical resources and information with a view to the development of the Project.      

Speaking further on the matter Dr Graham said through the MoU, the UDC’s technical capacity would be augmented as it carries out the role of project manager and technical advisor during the concept design phase.  

“Thereafter, the programme packages and preliminary budget will be available for phase 2 which will involve procurement of contracts for detailed designs of the concepts developed,” he pointed out.  

Continuing he added that the GOJ’s procurement policy guidelines will be used to ensure full transparency and inclusion of competent local and international bidders to develop the detailed designs.  In the meantime, Dr Graham said Phase 3 of the project would involve the procurement of contract services under a public private partnership arrangement to carry out the building and financing of the various packages.  

“The funding aspect of Phases 2 and 3 are currently being developed and will include but not limited to use of current GOJ building rentals, Jamaica Diaspora contribution, local crowd funding and other novel approaches,” he pointed out. 

Dr Graham in his statement further pointed out that the UDC which is the primary development agency for the Government of Jamaica, through its mandate to make development happen, engages approximately 900 Jamaicans in its present outfit.  
“Our team comprises technical and administrative professionals inclusive of architects, engineers, spacial planners, geo-informatics technicians, quantity surveyors, attraction staff and managers, a truly multidisciplinary team.  Indeed,  it  is  on  the  merit  of  these  highly  competent  staff  and  their predecessors that iconic infrastructure features in our present-day towns have been built,  upgraded  and  expanded,  with  inclusion  of  international  expertise  where warranted,” he noted. 

The UDC General Manager said following on what is virtually a tradition to consult with the public and stakeholders in such matters the UDC as recently as this  April  “had  presentation  and  discussion  with  members  of  Jamaica’s professional  institutions  for  their  involvement  within  the  context  of  the  current project”. 

“In  further  planned  consultations,  we  will  share  the  details  of  prior  work done, the terms of reference for their participation under the recently signed MOU between  the  Government  of  Jamaica  and  its  agency  the  UDC,  with  China Construction America, and how other Jamaican professionals can join the UDC in Phase 1 (concept development) of the project,” he said. 

Dr Graham’s remarks come at a time when the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE) has cited discomfort with what it claims were indications by the Corporation that local professionals involved in the process would work on a voluntary basis even as their Chinese partners are salaried. 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness referring to the project during his contribution to the 2017 Budget Debates in Parliament on March 21 said “it was always intended to collaborate with the local architectural and urban planning community, to get their input and advice”. He told the Parliament that “already one local architect has sent designs he developed for the Parliament”.  

“This will be a National Project, and certainly buildings like our Parliament must have significant local input and participation at every level. The UDC is still in the preliminary scoping and planning phase, however at the earliest feasible time the UDC will establish a mechanism by which the local community can collaborate in the process,” the Prime Minister said further. 

He however noted that : for the project to be accelerated it is important to have partners who are well resourced with the financial, project management and technical expertise to take on mega development projects such as the one being proposed”.    

For further information, please contact 
The Corporate Relations Department 
Urban Development Corporation 
12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston Mall 
Telephone: 656-8031  
April 25, 2017