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PanJam Partners with UWI for Conference on the Regeneration of Kingston

Kingston, Jamaica: PanJam Investment Limited (PanJam) has partnered with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona to host the first ‘Imagine Kingston: A Conference on the Regeneration of a City’ from November 9 to 12.

The four-day conference, which is being jointly held by The UWI’s Department of Government, Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Institute of Jamaica’s Jamaica Music Museum, will see the convergence of artists, educators, scholars and investors of urban design and landscape studies — to imagine the regeneration of Kingston.

“We [PanJam] felt this conversation is too important to ignore. For years, we have envisioned a Kingston that thrives as a harbour facing metropolis — our city has been left neglected for far too long — developing on its own without a unified economic and physical plan,” Stephen Facey, chairman and CEO of PanJam Investment Limited.

“This conference, we believe, should sow the seeds for the visioning of goals that will impact urban policy and garner political, social, and private buy in,” Facey added. “Also, continuing the legacy of our founding chairman the late Honourable Maurice Facey is important.”

Having invested in Kingston from as far back as the post-independence period, PanJam expressed delight at partnering with The UWI to outline the prospects of the area and the importance of the regeneration of Kingston.

Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, conference organiser and director of the UWI Institute of Caribbean Studies, posited that the city is waiting to be the catalyst for a fundamental expansion of tourism in Jamaica.

“The conversation about the regeneration of Kingston is important particularly as we are within two years of being declared as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Creative City for Music. Kingston is beckoning us to imagine and reflect the creative cultural ethos it birthed,” said Dr Stanley Niaah.

The conference also aims to catalyse the restoration and regeneration as the basis to chart pathways for economic growth.

“Knowing the history of PanJam in Kingston, and particularly in downtown — with the development of the Air Jamaica Building and the Scotia Centre — we recognised that the company had a historic, vested interest in seeing its resurgence,” Dr Stanley Niaah said of the partnership.

The scholarship and expertise in urban renewal are growing globally and providing governments, policy makers, investors, entrepreneurs, and citizens and various publics with knowledge is at the forefront of the over 60 presentations in the Main Library.

PanJam in Downtown

PanJam was among the first companies to be listed on the newly formed Kingston Stock Exchange (now Jamaica Stock Exchange) in 1965.

That post-Independence period was one which sanctioned the efforts to capitalise on opportunities which positively impacted Jamaica’s economic, infrastructural and social needs by businessmen and philanthropists, such as founding PanJam Chairman, the late Honourable Maurice Facey.

In 1966, Facey expedite his dreams for large scale property development in Jamaica and a year earlier, PanJam laid the first blocks on the Air Jamaica Building on Harbour Street in downtown, Kingston.

The PanJam Group also pioneered the development of high-rise buildings across Kingston. Later on in his life, Facey’s dream of restoring downtown, Kingston to its former glory sparked the establishment of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Kingston Restoration Company (KRC) in the 1970s.

Fast-forward 50-plus years, the company, led by chairman and CEO of PanJam Investment Limited, Stephen Facey, is still specifically invested in downtown with the redevelopment of the former Oceana Hotel.

Joanna Banks