- Portland’s residents and visitors should benefit significantly from four major projects undertaken at a cost of over $48 million, to boost tourism in the parish.
- The projects include repairs to over three kilometres of roadway between the communities of Fellowship and Berrydale.
- Funding was provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and project management undertaken by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).
Portland’s residents and visitors should benefit significantly from four major projects undertaken at a cost of over $48 million, to boost tourism in the parish.
The projects, carried out by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, include repairs to over three kilometres of roadway between the communities of Fellowship and Berrydale, at a cost of $20 million; refurbishing of the Neville Antonio Park in Port Antonio – $13 million; completion of the Portland Craft Village development, also in Port Antonio – $12.5 million; and repairs to the Berrydale rafting jetty and loading bay – $2.8 million.
Funding was provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and project management undertaken by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).
There were also inputs from the Portland Parish Council and National Works Agency (NWA), which carried out work on the craft village and Berrydale road, respectively.
The developments are consistent with the Government’s strategic job and economic growth priority, focusing on development and growth in key productive sectors (tourism and rural development); integration of culture and entertainment into the economy; and improved roadways.
Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, and State Minister, Hon. Damion Crawford, accompanied by parish officials and stakeholders, toured the projects on April 2. He then symbolically handed them over to the TPDCo and Council, which will manage them, during a ceremony at Neville Antonio Park.
In his remarks, Dr. McNeill commended the participating stakeholders for their inputs in implementing “such well needed infrastructural improvements,” while highlighting their importance.
“The mandate of this government is to encourage development that will improve the quality of life of the people of Jamaica,” he said, adding that “through the TEF, we have been able to contribute significantly to the fulfillment of this mandate.”
Dr. McNeill said the administration is cognizant that tourism growth will not fully materialize, “unless the Jamaican people feel its impact directly.” Hence, the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring that when the TEF finances a project, “the Jamaican people and, in particular, the community in which the project is carried out, are the primary beneficiaries.”
The Minister said he is confident that the work carried out on the projects will redound to the benefit of the many Jamaicans who live in, or visit Portland. “These four projects…and the many others undertaken across the country, truly exemplify how the tourism sector benefits the average Jamaican,” he added.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the TEF, Clyde Harrison, said the entity welcomes the end result of the money spent in Portland.
He pointed out that the TEF is driven by the “vision and mandate” of the tourism sector’s policymakers, “who have pushed Portland ahead in this significant way.”
TPDCO’s Executive Director, Dennis Hickey, said with the completion of the projects, the agency “looks forward to working with our stakeholders for the (further) improvement of this unique resort, not only for our visitors, but for the citizens who call Portland home.”
Also lauding the projects were Portland’s Custos, Hon. Lincoln Thaxter; Member of Parliament for East Portland, where the developments are located, Dr. Lynvale Bloomfield; Port Antonio’s Mayor, Councillor Benny White; and Portland Craft Traders Association President, Joan Shaw.