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The Western Hospitality Institute in Negril has benefited from grant funding of approximately $10 million (US$85,094.00) from the Government of Japan for the renovation and expansion of the facility.

Japanese Ambassador, His Excellency Hiromasa Yamazaki, handed over the cheque to principal of the institution, Jahraski Young, at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Wednesday (February 13) It will go towards the establishment of a computer room, library/resource centre, three classrooms and housekeeping laboratories.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, who attended the presentation ceremony, thanked the Japanese Government for the support to the institution, which provides hospitality training to persons living in western Jamaica.

“For Jamaica to grow, we need continuous training and certification. This investment by the Japanese in the Western Hospitality Institute will help us to formalise training and certification for more young people,” he said.

He noted that education and training programmes, such as those being offered by the Western Hospitality Institute, “is an antidote to youth unemployment, youth delinquency and crime and violence, and will help to create more linkages between unattached youth and the tourism and hospitality industries”.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (background right), looks on as Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica, His Excellency Hiromasa Yamazaki (seated left); and Principal, Western Hospitality Institute, Jahraski Young (seated right), prepare to sign a grant agreement for the renovation of the Negril-based Institute. The function was held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Wednesday (February 13). Others observing are Chairman, Western Hospitality Institute, Dr. Cecil Cornwall (background left) and Representative, Joint Committee Tertiary Education, Yvonne Clarke.

“Western Hospitality Institute is a model (for other training institutions)… . We (Jamaica) are world-class because we have dedicated institutions that continue to train and certify persons specifically for the hospitality industry.

That is largely what has made Jamaica world-class in terms of our tourism industry,” he noted.

The Japanese Ambassador, for his part, commended the Western Hospitality Institute, which he noted, “has been proactively engaged in activities to promote education, as well as technical and vocational skills training, for those who could not attend or had to quit school at various levels due to different reasons”.

“It is truly playing a very important role for many of Jamaica’s most vulnerable citizens to get the well-needed opportunity to receive academic as well as hands-on training,” he said.

The Western Hospitality Institute principal said that the grant funding will better enable the facility to deliver training to residents of Westmoreland and Hanover.

“We’re very thankful and we are appreciative… . Thank you for the consideration,” he added.

The support was provided under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots and Human Security Project.