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  • Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the $250 million beach upgrading project is on in earnest, as Jamaicans need to have full access to quality recreational facilities, and the tourism offerings need to be enhanced.
  • Dr. McNeill, who along with Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan; officers in the Ministry, as well as political representatives toured a number of attractions and beaches in St. Ann and St. Mary, on April 30, said work has commenced on 10 of the 15 beaches that have been identified for improvement work.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the $250 million beach upgrading project is on in earnest, as Jamaicans need to have full access to quality recreational facilities, and the tourism offerings need to be enhanced.

Dr. McNeill, who along with Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan; officers in the Ministry, as well as political representatives toured a number of attractions and beaches in St. Ann and St. Mary, on April 30, said work has commenced on 10 of the 15 beaches that have been identified for improvement work.

“We are determined to secure beaches across the island, so that as there is more development, the available beaches that Jamaicans and visitors can use, are in the best condition,” he added.

Noting that since his recent announcement of the project, scores of community organizations and elected representatives have suggested beaches that can be on the programme, the Minister said “this is something that must be continuous.”

“St. Mary and Portland are unique, they have lots of villas…you have a lot of foreigners who make Jamaica their second, and some of them, their first home, and they must have access to good beaches, too,” the Minister said.

He argued that when visitors interact with residents at the beaches, it creates bonds and encourage them to visit the island again. “They have a better time, and that is the experience that we intend to create,” the Minister said.

The beach project is funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and implemented through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).

Other agencies involved in the project are the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).

Dr. McNeill described the attractions visited as “magnificent,” even as he stressed the need to work with the operators, so that they can have the necessary safety structure in place.

“I have been across the Caribbean, and I have not seen the likes of some of them in other islands; it again shows what Jamaica has to offer,” he said.