Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Technology ministry to set up office in MoBay, says Paulwell
PETRE WILLIAMS, Observer staff reporter
Monday, November 18, 2002



PAULWELL... we need to have a stronger presence in Montego Bay

WESTERN BUREAU -- Commerce, Science and Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell said Saturday that his ministry would set up an office in Montego Bay by January next year to capitalise on and develop the city's IT sector.

And he said he would be visiting at least once per month to meet with sector interests.

"The Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology will have a presence here," Paulwell told reporters after Saturday's graduation ceremony for 86 students who recently completed their IT training at the Caribbean Institute of Technology (CIT). "And I will be coming to Montego Bay at least once a month to interface with the business sector, to interface with those who are involved in the ICT (information and communications technology) business and who are utilising science and technology for the development of the industry."

According to Paulwell, Montego Bay has tremendous IT growth potential and already, companies had indicated their intention to expand into the city.

As such, he said it was critical for his ministry to have a strong presence there.

"We need to have a stronger presence in Montego Bay. What we have found, for example, is that job stability and the level of turnover in employment is much lower in Montego Bay than in Kingston and many of the call centre companies have said to me that they do want to expand more and more in Montego Bay. Because of that, we believe the ministry must establish an office in Montego Bay," he said, adding that January was the target date for the set-up.

"The presence in Montego Bay is going to enable much more progress at the west (end) of the country and we believe that, especially for ICT, we can have development studies right across the length and middle of the country," Paulwell said. "But, we need to go in. We need to take a careful look. We need to bring investors and we need to do some construction."

As for the financing that will be required to set up new offices, the minister said he would be looking to the private sector for help.

"We are looking to the private sector for assistance. We are trying to minimise government revenues on this and we expect the private sector will assist us," he said.

Meanwhile, the CIT turned out its batch of graduates to high praise from Paulwell, who told the graduates they had been trained in tandem with the vision to turn out a "world-class" productive workforce.

"The training you have received must be seen in the context of our vision to create an educated, world-class productive workforce, to create opportunities in society, which actively develops a creative thinker-worker with attitudes, skills and knowledge appropriate to his or her environment," he said.

"Through the CIT, you, as graduates, are now well prepared for the world of work and armed with the knowledge and skills to create your very own job."

The number of CIT graduates islandwide now moves to 439. Of that number, 304 are from CIT, Montego Bay.