JIS News

More than 40 persons from White House and adjoining communities in Westmoreland, were presented with certificates on February 19, for successfully completing a two-week training course in ‘Community Tourism and Environmental Awareness’. The course was staged by the Negril Chamber of Commerce, in association with the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), and forms part of the Caribbean Regional Human Resource Development Programme for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC), being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and implemented by the Negril Chamber of Commerce.
The presentation of the certificates took place at the HEART Culloden Vocational Training Centre in Whitehouse, Westmoreland, where the course was held.
In her address, Manager of the Chamber, Jean Jackson, explained that her group has been working with CIDA, through the CPEC programme, on a special project called, ‘Human Resource Development and Institutional Strengthening for Sustainable Tourism in Negril’, for several months now.
“It’s an 18-month programme, and we are coming to the end of it now. We have not confined this programme to Negril, but we have taken it all the way from this end of the parish of Westmoreland, right up to Sandy Bay on the other side of Hanover,” she said.
“We have completed programmes in Tour Guiding, Language Skills, Spanish and German. We have done two programmes in basic computer skills, with one nearing completion, and just last weekend we had a two-day training in Association Management, which was very well attended and very well received. We have done Security for the Hospitality Industry, Business Plan Development, Web Site Marketing and of course, Community Tourism,” Miss Jackson noted.
She pointed out that the Community Tourism course was offered in four different geographical areas – Petersfield and Whitehouse in Westmoreland, and Sandy Bay and Lucea in Hanover.
Community Development Officer with the UDC, Loraine Holness-Muir, outlined her organisation’s involvement with the series of training programmes. She said that the UDC was paying particular attention to the human resource and infrastructural development of the Southwestern part of the island.
“We are building a hotel in the area, and we have leased 92 farming lots in McAlpine to farmers in the area. At the moment we are looking at studies done to see if we can do some housing and other things in the area,” she said.
Mrs. Holness-Muir commended the Chamber for its foresight in offering the training courses in the different areas. She explained that there was no hesitation on the part of the UDC to get involved in the series of training programmes, as it was cognisant of the need to sensitise the community about the importance of tourism.
“The UDC, wherever it develops structures, recognises that the human resource is most important, and that is why it places Community Development Officers in the areas, so while the structures are being developed, people, the most important resource, are also being developed,” she said.
Project Manager with the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation, Virginia Turner, told the participants that rural development was high on the agenda of her organisation, and outlined some of the requirements to access funds from the Foundation for community based projects.
“All we ask is that your project be sustainable, income generating, as well as employment generating and it’s aimed at community based groups,” she said.
She emphasised that her organisation was on a quest to try and empower rural communities to empower themselves. Participant in the course, Desita Turner-Grant, told JIS News that she found the course to be very interesting and informative, adding that she would be taking her new found knowledge to her community to educate others.

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