J$1 million a day down the drain…..W-T-eff?!? Another ‘White Elephant’?



It took me a while to absorb the contents and ramifications of this article in today’s Sunday Gleaner. I just could not fathom the maintenance cost of J$1 million per day on yet another government WHITE ELEPHANT, the Montego Bay Convention Centre (MBCC), to be paid for by yours truly, the poor Jamaican taxpayer.

We should have seen this coming after the Gleaner’s feature on the the facility’s viability last May. I am not spewing negativity in this article. I am looking at the facts as I know them to be, objectively.

I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind the construction of the MBCC. How did the government and ‘stakeholders’ come to the conclusion that the US$51.7 million (exchange rate J$94.00-95.00= US$1.00) construction price tag was a good way to spend our (hard earned) money, with the hope of earning US$10 million per year? Who came up with this ridiculous ‘earning potential’ figure and just how much is the MBCC really earning? The facility ain’t hosting ‘nutten’.

Located along the “Elegant Corridor” (whatever that is supposed to imply) in Rose Hall, St. James, the MBCC has had to contend (i.e. compete) with well established conference hotels all along the North Coast (Ritz-Carlton, Wyndham, Half Moon, Holiday Inn Sunspree and the Sunset Jamaica Grande, to name a few). Did the government believe that they could compete with these other large private venues, with established reputations? Did the ‘stakeholders’ believe that the convenience of having one’s room and conference at the same location (like the big hotels in the area) would be less attractive than room and board at one location, with travel to the conference at another venue?

Who do we have making decisions like this? How many more ‘white elephants’ will the Government of Jamaica construct and at what cost to us, the poor Jamaican taxpayer? We already have the Port Antonio Marina (Portland), the Greenfield Multi-Purpose Stadium (Trelawny) and the Ian Fleming Airport (St. Mary), costing us more money than we can count and the government has found the time to spend it all and then some!

If this Gleaner article is accurate regarding the J$30 million monthly expenditure to keep the property open, then I have some suggestions:

Step 1. Bulldoze the complex and leave it in rubble. The cost for maintenance of rubble is J$0.00.

Let us then use said J$30 million on projects and services that ONLY the government can provide:

Step 2. Year 1:  Upgrade/renovate/expand one (1) courthouse per parish per month for 12 months. At the end of this period, we would have a much improved (hopefully) functioning infrastructure for Justice in the country.

Step 3. Year 2: Upon completing the courthouses, we shall repeat Step 2 for our security infrastructure, with the upgrading/renovation/repair of two (2) police stations per month.

Step 4. Year 3: Repeat Step 2 for Fire Stations.

Step 5. Years 4 and 5: Repeat Step 2 for  Health centres and clinics, hospitals and children’s places of safety.

Step 6. Years  6, 7, 8…: Repeat Step 2 for government schools to provide, desks, chairs, classrooms, electricity and water. We need flushing toilets to replace the current pit latrines and holes in the ground in outhouse shacks at many rural schools.

You get where I am going with this.

I really did shake my head and ponder ‘W-T-eff?’ when I read the article. It is just so mind boggling that the government keeps on doing the same nonsensical things over and over and over. But you see, it’s not their money. It is our money.

There is a big difference between the way we spend our own money versus money given to us. We tend to spend our money on things for ourselves or others judiciously. However, when it comes to spending other people’s money we are very much, less judicious, especially when there is more to come without you having to work for it. That’s the way government spends our money, or borrowed money (hence our J$1.7 trillion debt).

Where is the morality in the actions of government unilaterally using force to take our money in taxes, to then waste it on these projects? Of course those who really benefit are the wealthy elites in society who obtain construction, security and consultancy ‘contracts’ from the state for said projects.

We really need to look at the fundamental issue…think about it….Why is government in the conference hosting business? The Jamaica Conference Centre (in Kingston) has been a resounding success, hasn’t it? Alas…another white elephant is in the offing with the planned logistics hub, check out this link.

I guess Milton Friedman was right when he said…. “Governments Never Learn. Only People Learn”…..But then again, Jamaicans never learn.

Kavon Fiennes


Kavon Fiennes is creator of the RightFromYaad blog. He is a 30-something year old ‘Black’, sometimes ‘Brown’, Jamaican. He is a former socialist, nationalist and Democrat, turned Libertarian and semi-conservative since his mid 20′s. He still holds lingering left-wing views on the way society ought to treat the destitute and elderly.


About RightFromYaad

A view from "the Right", as a source of ideas to create a new vision of freedom and what it promises for Jamaicans, to counter the tyranny of the status quo of Jamaica's reality since 1962. Website: RightFromYaad.wordpress.com Email: rightfromyaad@gmail.com Twitter : @rightfromyaad Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Right-From-Yaad/244886608978438?ref=ts&fref=ts
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3 Responses to J$1 million a day down the drain…..W-T-eff?!? Another ‘White Elephant’?

  1. Sher Hickey says:

    It is obvious that the government is doing the same thing but expecting different results. Why are we surprised each time the government spends our money extravagantly? Billions lost on highways, mismanagement of funds, building infrastructures that they postulate will acquire billions and the list continues…….It’s obvious that we do not have an economic problem we have a government problem. The government needs to change its culture of spending. The sociocultural factor of the Jamaican society needs to be paramount on the government’s agenda before they spend taxpayer’s money. What Jamaica needs is not ‘hands out ‘ its economic stability that can only be accomplished through strong fiscal discipline. I am exhausted by the irrational behavior of persons who is deemed intellectually sound.

    • Dear Sher,

      It is obvious that we do have an economic problem….a problem created by government activity. Until Jamaicans understand that govt is the crux of our problems then we won’t achieve anything as a people going forward.

      Part of the aim of our blog is to push for freedom of individuals to proceed with their lives without govt intrusion, without govt force, allowing competition and freedom of exchange between free individual as the system of superior morals to the wanton waste of govt agents pursuing their own self interest of preserving ‘govt’. Govt needs to take a back seat….the long term harm to the marginalized and poor in Jamaica can be undone but only if we act now. Not a single activity/program of govt in my memory has been done well, or has generated real value (wealth) to the redounding benefit of the masses, or allowed the common man to uplift himself.

      Govt’s true role is to protect individuals from others who intend to do or perpetrate harm. Among their other functions is to constitute courts of law to punish those who breach rights, who use coercion/fraud as a means of taking property and earnings from others. The unfortunate role they have played is to give favours to particular groups at the expense of others, which distorts the market. Whether it be favours for party financiers or supporters, the business elites or provide monopolies for corporations….The madness must end!


  2. Pingback: The Jamaican Diaspora Conference Needs To Be Focused On Issues And Less Political | Right From Yaad

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