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The Ministries of Tourism and Entertainment and Agriculture and Fisheries, will be working to put a long-term plan in place for the protection and preservation of the Holland Bamboo attraction in St. Elizabeth.

The two-mile archway of bamboo, located between Lacovia and Middle Quarters, has been plagued by fires in recent months, which have destroyed a portion of the bamboo.

On Friday (July 27) Tourism Minister, Dr. the Hon. Wykeham McNeill and Agriculture Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, toured the area to assess the damage, with a view to coming up with plans to resuscitate the bamboo and preserve the area.

Minister McNeill said that as an immediate measure, a community organisation, once dedicated to streamlining activities around the attraction, will be revitalised. The group will operate in association with the South Coast Resort Board, the St. Elizabeth Parish Council, and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).

"We have to put back in place, an organisation that was here previously, and have discussions with them on how we are going to go forward. We want to ensure that in future planning…there has to be a regularising of how we operate here," he stated.

Dr. NcNeill said that the community must play a pivotal role in the longevity of the attraction, and the community group will be tasked to "ensure that we don't have reoccurrence of this (fires).

"If everybody comes together, we will have a better chance of protecting it, once everybody is involved in the process," he contended, noting that the area is a "very valuable treasure".    

For his part, Minister Clarke, said that while his Ministry will be replanting the bamboo, farmers and other residents must be reminded about the need to protect the area.

"They, themselves, benefit from the tourists stopping here. It is something that is not just economically valuable, but the aesthetics bring something to our tourism product, so we need to have it properly taken care of," Minister Clarke said.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Black River, Councillor Everton Fisher, informed that the parish council has started the process of engaging persons suspected of lighting the fires, which went out of control and caused the damage.

He noted that Holland Bamboo is a main attraction in the parish and the local authority will make every effort to save it.