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© 2020, Urban Development Corporation

Government Oval Response

Local experts affiliated with the construction industry will have an opportunity to contribute to the planning and development of the new Government Oval to be constructed at the National Heroes Circle.

It is important this is understood.

Jamaican architects, urban planners, engineers, landscape architects, etc., in the appropriate time, will all have equal opportunity to either submit tenders, express their opinion on design and layout or volunteer their skill to this landmark project.

Too many inaccuracies have been purported in the media landscape with regard to the level of involvement by our local experts, and so, the UDC remains committed and available to continue the dialogue with our professional colleagues.

The Government of Jamaica signed a non-binding MOU with China Construction America-South America Division (CCASA) in March. The MOU provides for the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and CCASA to collaborate in relation to the preliminary phase of the Government Oval Project. This 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.

Both the UDC and the Office of the Prime Minister have repeatedly emphasized that local experts will be contracted and consulted on this project. They play a critical role in the overall success of the project. However, the Government of Jamaica’s procurement policy guidelines will be used to ensure full transparency and inclusion of competent local and international bidders to develop the detailed designs. Some of the steps being taken at this phase to involve local experts include:

  1. The UDC has received approval from the Ministry of Finance to begin the recruitment of local technical experts to augment the team at the UDC
  2. A request for proposal (RFP) has been sent to local consulting firms and we expect to shortlist candidates in the next three weeks
  3. The UDC has extended an invitation to the local bodies representing the architects and engineers to submit the names of person to be included in a fellowship where they will augment the team at the UDC

Through the MoU with CCASA, the UDC’s technical capacity will be enhanced 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. Phase 3 of the project will 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.  

It is of interest to note that the deliberations about building a new parliamentary house for the Government of Jamaica predates the country’s Independence from the George VI Memorial Park Act of 1956, which identified the National Heroes Circle as the location. The vision for this complex is to be a national monument that not only houses the new Parliamentary building and Government Ministries and agencies, but adorned with green spaces and recreational parks that symbolizes good governance and prosperity.

The project represents a watershed moment in Jamaican history of architecture and urban development. The designed and built space will reflect the Jamaican culture, values and identity in the monuments that will be created for generations to come. The UDC invites everyone to pledge their time, talent and treasure to work diligently so that through this project we can advance the welfare of our Jamaican people.

Damian Graham
General Manager
Urban Development Corporation
Dr Damian "Damo" Graham DBA, MPhil, P.E. is an experienced scholar-practitioner in Supply Chain and Global Operations, Manufacturing, Engineering and Construction. He is a registered Professional Industrial and Systems Engineer in Jamaica and other jurisdictions.