St Ann Chamber pushes for Brown’s Town upgrade

OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Dr Ransford Davidson, president of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce, and members of his team are batting for a revamp of one of the parish’s major communities, Brown’s Town, through what he described as a well-needed economic expansion.

Davidson, who was speaking at the Brown’s Town Structural Development Meeting at the local community college last Friday, said the area has for far too long relied on mining and farming-related jobs.

“Our economic development has been limited in scope with historic reliance on bauxite and agricultural lands. Our Fourth Industrial Revolution demands a shift from these trends. Our parish needs to look beyond those old industries with an expansive view towards updating our business model and embrace diversification in line with global trends,” he urged.

He thinks an upgrade and expansion of the business community has the potential to revive the ageing town and make it more inviting for prospective investors.

“The global services sector is pumping roughly US$890 million ($136 billion) into the Jamaican economy annually. So to introduce global services sector in the economic zone will increase employment opportunities and foreign direct investments,” said Davidson.

He warned that the current state of the town may deter potential investors.

“From the traffic congestion, to limited parking, to overcrowding, Brown’s Town is bursting at the seams, which has implications towards limited economic expansion and growth. The community is also regarded as the ‘educational hub’ of Jamaica, housing major high schools and tertiary institutions that are now filled to capacity and require expansion support,” he said.

“A reposition of the town will allow business owners to take advantage of the new economic realities and increase wealth for parishioners,” he added.

In transforming the area, according to Davidson, a bypass must first be built in the Minard Estate area, after which major development may take place.

“Lands in the area of the bypass can then be developed into an economic zone to attracting high-level investments,” he said.

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