Contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate by Minister, the Hon. Wykeham McNeill


Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to rise to make my contribution to the Sectoral Debate, and I would like to thank the Most Honourable Prime Minister for affording me the opportunity to serve in the capacity of Minister of Tourism and Entertainment.

Congratulations to the Speaker, Clerk and the committed staff of the House for the good job you have been doing.

I also wish to acknowledge and thank my immediate family, my wife Sheila, our two children, my mother and my extended family for their unwavering support over the years that I have executed my duties.

I extend special thanks to my constituents in Western Westmoreland, Mayor Bertel Moore, the Councillors and my management team. Mr. Speaker, without their support, I would not have had the privilege of addressing this Honourable House in this capacity.

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And most of all, I thank God for blessing me with health and strength.

Mr. Speaker, as our nation seeks to navigate through this global economic storm, I believe that this is a very crucial time for the tourism sector as we seek to lay a firm foundation for the sustainable development of our country.

I am pleased to inform this Honourable House and all Jamaicans that, despite the many challenges facing our tourism sector, it continues to perform well, due largely to the support of our committed tourism partners and the diligent efforts of the outstanding team I have the pleasure of leading.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to my Minister of State and the entire team at the Ministry and its agencies led by the Permanent Secretary.

I also want to commend the chairpersons of the boards of the respective agencies within the Ministry, and their hardworking board members. Mr. Speaker I want to also acknowledge the Chairmen of the six Resort Boards.

I want to specially thank the President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Mrs. Evelyn Smith and her Executive for the cooperation and support that they have provided over the last year.

They have been an integral part of the process of leading a sector that is so important to us all.

This has been demonstrated on a number of occasions Mr. Speaker:

The pivotal role they played during the budget debate discussions on the industry taxes last year.

Their participation in the ongoing initiatives to strengthen the linkages between tourism and other sectors.

Their contribution to the ongoing initiatives to implement worker benefits.

Their input in the planned implementation of an energy efficiency programme within small hotels; among a number of other ventures.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the JHTA has found the perfect balance between sector advocacy and looking out for the national interest and I have to commend them.

I look forward to continuing to work with all our tourism partners, working together for the good of our nation…READ MORE

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