Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas is heading to Jamaica in search of trade opportunities.
Thomas announced on Tuesday that Prime Minister Andrew Holness invited him to meet with him on March 3 to discuss how the country and the city can collaborate on business development.
Mount Vernon has a large Caribbean community, Thomas said, and Holness is well aware of the city because he has relatives here. Thomas said he has been discussing commercial trade with Jamaican representatives at the United Nations.
Thomas said there are opportunities for increasing trade at port facilities on Eastchester Creek. More than 700,000 tons of cargo are transported through the channel annually, including petroleum, sand and gravel and scrap metal. A large tank farm is the locus of petroleum distribution in the region.
Thomas will meet with executives of Petrojam, a petroleum refinery owned by the government of Jamaica that already ships products to Eastchester Creek, to encourage more trade.
Mount Vernon and Jamaica are known for their excellence in track and field, Thomas said, so there could be opportunities for encouraging sports events, as well as tourism, in both places.
The city’s Industrial Development Agency approved a request on Feb. 28 to pay for the trip for Thomas and another city representative, up to $4,000.