Jamaica is to enhance its heritage tourism offering with today’s (October 1) signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), for renovations to the New Seville Great House in St. Ann.
The MoU comes against the celebration of the 500-year anniversary of the founding of New Seville as the first Spanish capital of Jamaica, this November.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, speaking at the contract signing at her office in Kingston, said the Foundation was funding the work of Spanish designers, Luis Sarda and Jorge Gil, to the tune of US$200,000.
“This funding from the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation will see the design and production of a state-of-the-art interactive museum. It will offer a first-class display of our rich heritage from Taino, Spanish, and English through to our African cultures,” Miss Grange informed.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (left), exchanges documents with Spanish Ambassador and President of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, His Excellency Jesus Silva, during the signing of a memorandum of understanding for restoration work to be done to the Seville Great House in St. Ann. The signing ceremony took place today (Oct.1) at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in Kingston.
She said this will be done through audiovisuals that will encourage visitors to engage with the story of Seville and Jamaica, innovative motifs, and display boards that will tell the story of the historical periods of Seville.
The project, which will also pay homage to Jamaica’s strong popular culture, is part of a $59.7 million infrastructural restoration of the Seville Heritage Park being undertaken by the JNHT with funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
Works include the restoration of the plantation and coach houses, the stabilisation of the Spanish Castle site, placement of appropriate signage on the site, improvement of the access road and development of a conservation plan for the site.
“This collaboration will take us a step closer to the development of a first-class heritage education and tourist attraction that has the necessary management systems in place to ensure the preservation of the authenticity and integrity of the site,” Miss Grange stated.
Turning to the possible economic benefits of the restoration work, Miss Grange said the project “provides us with another important initiative to assure the viability of Brand Jamaica as a brand anchored in the culture, sports and heritage” of the country.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (centre); Chairman of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), Patrick Stanigar (left); and Spanish Ambassador and President of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, His Excellency Jesus Silva, sign an agreement for the renovation of the Seville Great House in St. Ann today (Oct. 1) at the Ministry in Kingston. November will mark 500 years since Seville was established as the first capital of Jamaica.
Spanish Ambassador and President of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, His Excellency Jesus Silva, stated that Seville’s Spanish heritage as the country’s first capital was not the main motivation for the Foundation’s participation in the project.
“The reason I think is because we have understood that this is a project that is important to the people for the educational and cultural purposes of the country. It is also a very important tool to put into practice an important aim of the Government, which is to offer a diversified offering in tourism,” he explained.
Seville is on the tentative list of the World Heritage Committee, and Miss Grange said the renovations could help to cement the site’s place on the World Heritage List.
Jamaica would then be able to join St. Lucia and St. Kitts as the only countries in the English-speaking Caribbean on the list and would be able to benefit from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) financial and technical support for further development.