Govt Preparing Residents To Tap Into Economic Value Of World Heritage Site

Photo: file Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains

Story Highlights

  • The Government is preparing residents living in and around the Blue and John Crow Mountains World Heritage Site, to tap into the economic value of the area.
  • Through the various partnerships to be formed, Mrs. Simpson Miller expects growth for young small entrepreneurs, food preparation and shop operators, fruit and vegetable vendors, and farmers.
  • The Blue and John Crow Mountains is Jamaica’s first World Heritage Site and it is also the first in the region to be inscribed for its cultural and natural values.

The Government is preparing residents living in and around the Blue and John Crow Mountains World Heritage Site, to tap into the economic value of the area.

“For example, we are exploring partnership with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) to develop craft industries by strengthening the product and marketing capabilities of the local communities,” said Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

The Prime Minister, in a speech delivered by Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, at the launch of the World Heritage Site in Moore Town, Portland on October 30, informed that partnerships are to be created with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to develop a culinary niche market for packaging and distribution of indigenous foods and sustainable farming techniques.

The Institute of Jamaica will also be operating a “living museum” at the World Heritage Site. This will allow for cultural exchange to take place between residents of the community and visitors to the site.

“We are also strengthening home stay visits wherein residents open up their homes to target groups,” said the Prime Minister.

Through the various partnerships to be formed, Mrs. Simpson Miller expects growth for young small entrepreneurs, food preparation and shop operators, fruit and vegetable vendors, and farmers.

“Every individual, if he or she has a vision, can partake in the rich culture of the Blue and John Crow Mountains,” she said.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) representative, Cesar Toro, commended the Jamaican Government for its achievement in attainting the World Heritage Site inscription.

Colonel Wallace Sterling of the Moore Town Maroon Council expressed pride in the achievement.  “It was an overwhelming joy for us when we were declared a World Heritage Site,” he said.

He also foresees the site bringing economic autonomy to the people of the area.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, in an interview with JIS News said he is confident that the World Heritage Site designation will help to enhance the appeal of Jamaica to travellers with a special interest in culture.

This will, in turn, boost the nation’s standing in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI).

On July 3, the Blue and John Crow Mountains was inscribed to UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List.

The area span sections of the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and Portland.

It is the largest contiguous area of natural forest in Jamaica, protecting 193 acres of forest on mountain slopes, comprising 10 watershed management units spanning four parishes.

The area is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, being home to the Maroons, whose traditions are recognised by UNESCO as masterpieces of world culture.

The Blue and John Crow Mountains is Jamaica’s first World Heritage Site and it is also the first in the region to be inscribed for its cultural and natural values.

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