Jamaican PM Andrew Holness has thrown his political weight behind the Harmony Cove Resort Project, stating that it will help drive economic growth in the region and boost tourism to the island.
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]olness also affirmed that the Development Bank of Jamaica should fast track the project: “we have to make some decisions on it; we have to move ahead,” he said.
The integrated casino resort, located near Duncans in Trelawny, will be developed in several phases, with construction of the US$900m (E819m) first phase set to begin next year.
This phase includes a hotel with 1,000 guest rooms, space for retailers, in addition to food and beverage concessions while Phase 2 will include the casino portion of the resort.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean island nation’s regulator, the Casino Gaming Commission (CGC), is reported to be looking for a candidate “from the international market” to fill the position of CEO, following the departure of Phillip Shelton in April.
“Shelton brought a great deal of knowledge and capacity to the organisation and will be missed,” said Walter Scott, chairman of the CGC, speaking to The Gleaner.
However, in the CGC’s annual report, Scott expressed disappointment with the fact that while provisional approvals were awarded last year for two integrated resort developments, work has yet to begin on either project.
The Harmony Cove development, a partnership between state-owned Harmonisation Limited and investment firm Tavistock Group, is the first and larger of the two, while the second project Celebration Jamaica Ltd will see a $500m (E455m) investment from businessman Robert Torra’s Celebration Jamaica Development for a 2,000 room casino resort.
“By limiting the number of licences and granting exclusive operating territories, [the Casino Gaming framework] should ensure a successful gaming market in Jamaica,” said Dr Lorna Simmonds, CEO of Harmonisation Limited.