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Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, has received a cheque valued at $5.5 million from Spanish Ambassador, Her Excellency Celsa Nuno, on behalf of the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation.

The money will be used to refurbish the Seville Great House in St. Ann, and to develop the Seville Heritage Park Exhibition Centre.

Accepting the cheque on behalf of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), at Seville, on May 31, the Minister expressed appreciation to the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation for the “timely and welcomed” contribution, which will go a far way in positioning Seville as a major cultural, educational and tourist attraction.

“It is not only a pointed juncture in our development as we celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary, but also the history of the Spanish in our country. This year we are clear that the mission for Jamaica moving forward for the next 50 years, is to not only embrace our achievements, but that we position Jamaica with opportunities that can give us the best competitive advantages,” the Minister said.

She emphasised that the time had come for Jamaica to give greater attention to cultural and heritage tourism, two of the industries that hold much promise for the country.;

“We have to position Seville, not only as an experiential journey for those coming from overseas, but we have to present and preserve it, so that persons local and those from the Caribbean and from the Diaspora, can even utilise the venue for events and that the JNHT can also position it as a hallmark for what is best, and as a part of our heritage,” the Minister suggested.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Ambassador said the presentation of the cheque in support of Seville was the fulfillment of a commitment made to the JNHT in 2009 by the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation.

“I am particularly proud to be here today to realise that commitment and want you to know that the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation is fully convinced of the huge potential of the rich Jamaican heritage.  It is for that reason that one of the first projects launched after its inception in 2006 was the deployment of signboards in a number of historically significant sites, forming an islandwide Jamaica Heritage Trail,” Ambassador Nuno noted.

She said the New Seville Heritage Park and Exhibition Centre will be completed in time to form part of the much anticipated Jamaica 50 celebrations and will further serve to commemorate the strong links between two nations whose paths crossed hundreds of years ago.

The refurbishment of the Seville Great House and the development of the Seville Heritage Park and Exhibition Centre began in 2009 as a partnership involving the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation, the JNHT and the Tourism Enhancement Fund.   The overall cost of the project is estimated at approximately $36 million.