Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has called on stakeholders in Negril, Westmoreland, to exercise a greater level of compliance in keeping with the enhanced coronavirus (COVID-19) measures for the parish.
The special measures, which include tighter curfew hours from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily, began on December 16, 2020 and were extended up to January 15, 2021.
They are aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus across the parish, which has among the highest number of cases per population.
Minister Bartlett said that the onus is on tourism interests to “insert ourselves in that management system to make sure that compliance is at the highest level”.
“It is a call that we cannot resile from. If the spike continues and the numbers proliferate, then the very goose that laid the golden egg will be destroyed. We wouldn’t be able to market Negril properly to the world if we are saying the incidents are high in our space,” he argued.
“So, it is our responsibility, and tourism is going to have to play a stronger role in this community management structure,” he added.
Minister Bartlett pledged the support from the Ministry, where possible.
“I look forward to providing whatever further support that we can from our end as the Ministry of Tourism to make sure that we push back this insurgence and bring the management of COVID-19 in this area to a level that is acceptable on the basis of the science and the numbers,” he said.
Minister Bartlett was speaking at the launch of the COVID-19 Ambassador Programme of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Negril Chapter, held recently, at Sandy Haven Resort.