The recently established website to promote tourism and other offerings in the parish of St. Elizabeth, has stirred the interest of many residents, who see the initiative as positive for education and business promotion.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in charge of administration for the parish, Nadine Grant-Brown, tells JIS News that the website has impacted her family.
“My son had a research to be done on Black River (the capital of St. Elizabeth), and we couldn’t find anything. He thought of abandoning the project, but another student told him of the site, and there he found the needed information on the town. It is a good feeling, and I feel like I am a part of it,” the DSP says.
The website: www.visitstelizabeth.com.jm, was constructed by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), and resulted from a partnership between the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation. Its main objective is to promote the parish’s economic well-being, namely the growing South Coast tourism product.
Head Girl at Maggotty High School, Chanelle White, tells JIS News that the site will enhance the education process, particularly for students who undertake projects on the parish.
“This website is going to be very educating to students. It will teach us about our parish and other things that we do not know,” she says.
Giving the business community’s perspective on the site, General Manager of the St. Elizabeth Co-operative Credit Union, Fitz Rowe, describes the website as a great “portal from which people all over the globe can enter the parish and see the different attractions, the different hotels and guest houses."
“It should be a one-stop portal, so that once you get to the parish, you can look at the financial organisations, and you can look at the opportunities that exist here in the parish,” Mr. Rowe argues.
Speaking recently at the official launch of the website, Chairman of the Foundation, Donna Parchment-Brown, told JIS News that the site was set up not for the economic gain of the Foundation, but for the economic gain of the parish and the people of the parish.
“It is an opportunity for collaboration. We want to enjoy it, but we want to make money. I want the people of St. Elizabeth to make a lot of money; I want children in St. Elizabeth to be able to get work in St. Elizabeth, that pays them decent money,” she said.
“The JSIF is not investing this money so that we can go on the website and look at ourselves and feel nice. That’s good too, but truly, the investment is to help us impact our economic status, so that we can all have the lives that we would like to live without worry and without fear, and the risk of poverty,” she added.
Project Manager of JSIF, Stephannie Hutchinson-Ffrench, lauded the website initiative as a tool to present to the world the “unique treasures of St. Elizabeth."
“We are delighted that our partnership and funding has aided in securing the necessary skill sets needed to provide, among other things, the research and legal advice on St. Elizabeth; and the development of a website and database to serve as a strategic marketing tool for the parish,” she said.
Custos of St. Elizabeth, Hon. Wilfred Nembhard, told the launch that the website can unlock the doors of opportunity for farmers and business people.
“Think of the people that they can now reach, the things that they can do with their businesses and their farms through a tool like a website,” he said.
“In St. Elizabeth there are periods of drought, periods of rainfall, periods of glut, and there are periods of shortages. With information, with the capacity to know what each person is doing, we can have some optimum level of production. We can use it to our advantage; and we can showcase what we have. It is a wonderful development in the parish,” the Custos said.
Mayor of Black River, Councillor Jeremy Palmer, said he will ensure the growth of the site.
“I am very happy, and indeed very proud to be endorsing this project and to be associated with it. Thanks to the Homecoming Foundation for the work that has been put in, to promote this project. We will be working with you to ensure that this project continues to grow from strength to strength,” he said.
According to Regional Co-ordinator with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Fabian Holness, the benefits will be realised.
“It (website) will benefit the region greatly. It is ideal and we can only see good things coming out of it,” he tells JIS News.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter