Will Jamaica’s Logistics Hub Project be Curried Goat or Just Stew?

There is clearly much controversy about the Goat Island and the Logistics Project, that I am not sure we have curried goat, or just plain stew. The former would be a reason to rejoice, the latter a disappointment.

Years ago the Caterpillar Company of the USA had an advertisement in a magazine, probably TIME. It was illustrating that earth-moving equipment in a given development, will cause environmental damage, by relocating brush, stones, rocks, and water flow, in the course of work. Then it pointed out that such developments employed many persons, so it became a question of environment, or jobs. Then the Company elucidated the slogan: “There are no simple solutions, just intelligent compromises.”

To capture the phrase we need to make some compromises to development and to the environment. If we can’t have both of everything, can we not look at options? With respect to Goat Island we need to find a formula.

There is also something else: What about the Overseas Investor from the Far East. We need to identify their goals, or their expectations, and ask assurances that they will assist us in coming to a decision as to what must be included and what has to be sacrificed. After all a solution needs Funds, they are providing the money, and we are providing the property; so this calls for a meeting of the minds.

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Two other factors bother me at this juncture: One, is the property ours to deal with? The British leased all real estate to the Americans for involvement in World War ll. Is this property included in this arrangement? If so, then we need to negotiate with the respective owners, which may get politically confusing. I must credit the writer whose article I read and was suitably informed.

Two, we already have to deal with an environmental nightmare in an LNG plant installation. If it is going to be at Goat Island, just off the shores of St. Catherine, then this is already an environmental problem! From the LNG generator, we can expect poisonous gasses, Carbon Dioxide and Methane,Sulphur and Nitrogen Oxides; there would be storage problems,but we expect to store in barges unless Goat Island has any caves.

As standby we need to add a diesel generator, in case the LNG plant needs to be maintained, or fuel is a temporary short supply.  I believe many of the power units we now have are approaching their age.  So besides standby power, there has to be Port and docking facilities for LNG and Diesel, storage for the gas and fuels which may be by barge, then the LNG plant which will comprise three to six sections. The docking port should be significant and deep, as we would expect larger cargo ships which move through the enlarged Panama Canal, and the new Nicaraguan canal will then be available to transfer ships as well. Do we have enough space on the Island?

Then we need to identify negotiating strategy with the Chinese, and negotiating persons who will approach the matter with enthusiasm, and have required support from Environmental Experts, and Power engineers. We would be helped if we locate these persons early, say at this juncture. Then we call and expedite discussions with the Chinese Investors about Goat Island,  and other investors interested in the development of a Logistics Hub; whatever that means and the objective; so that our development  and growth does not fall behind expectations.

Written by Ramesh Sujanani

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