Welcome to St. Jago De la Vega, the Old Capital with such a rich history that conjures images of pageantry, domination and triumph. a place where Spanish was once the official language. The buildings around us tell the story of the indomitable nature of the Jamaican persona and the craftsmanship of our ancestors who created these magnificent buildings that are still standing after so many years.
From Seville to Rio Bueno, from Ocho Rios to the Don Figueroa Mountains the Spanish legacy is indelibly woven in the tapestry of our rich cultural heritage. And the legacy continues as the government of Spain and Spanish investors are currently involved in significant investment projects in Jamaica. The Heritage Trails of Jamaica is an enviable project that became a reality under the Spanish Jamaica Foundation.
The cultural performances here this morning speak of that intangible language that has permeated our social and political lives giving the Jamaican culture that distinctiveness that cannot be cloned. It is no wonder that his Excellency Ambassador Jesus Silva through the Spanish Jamaica Foundation has his eyes fixed on ensuring that the restoration of these historic buildings around us become reality.
Spanish Town will return to its former glory. The government stands committed to make it happen. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the Urban Development Corporation are poised to continue the dialogue and to begin the work. Already the Tourism Enhancement Fund has committed eleven million dollars to begin reinforcing some of the structures you see around us.
The Spanish Agency for International Corporation and Development through the Spanish Embassy is looking keenly at establishing a restoration school right here in Historic Spanish Town, where young minds will be challenged and channeled towards the skills required to ensure the preservation of our historical treasures not just here in Spanish Town but island wide.
As Minister with portfolio responsibility for culture I am particularly pleased to welcome you all here today. To your majesties Juan Carols 1st and Queen Sophia, I say Jamaica is still the fairest isle that eyes have ever seen. WELCOME.
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