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JIS News

Efforts to beautify Jamaica’s resort areas have been intensified under phase two of the Spruce-Up Jamaica programme.
The programme, which was developed during 2008/2009, aims at providing extensive beautification work in seven parishes – St. James, Westmoreland, Trelawny, St. Ann, Portland, St. Catherine and Kingston.
It is a collaborative effort between the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
Executive Director of TPDCo, Earl Patrick, in an interview with JIS News said that the programme “is well on track.”
“We entered into an agreement with the National Solid Waste Management Authority to act as our agent to do beautification [and] clean-up in specific areas of Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay, Negril, Port Antonio and sections of the South Coast,” he said.
He declared that the work is a six-month programme, which commenced towards the end of November last year. On completion, it will be evaluated and, possibly, be extended for another six months to ensure that the resort areas are maintained in pristine condition.
Mr. Patrick said that the activities include: cutting and bushing of verges; planting and pruning of trees; planting of flowers; maintenance of round-a-bouts; and painting of curb walls.
The NSWMA has been “very effective” at what they are doing with their expertise and the TPDCo was “quite happy with that,” he said.
Dialogue is paramount in the effort and weekly meetings are held with the NSWMA to evaluate the work being done, he said.
“Wherever we have little issues, we deal with that around the table and move on,” he explained.
“One of the weaknesses that this programme would have, if any, is the challenges of work. The fact that once people see some work going on, they want to know how they are going to get a piece of this work. So, it is a challenge, but I think [the] NSWMA is adequately equipped to deal with this, and I think one of the critical things that they are doing, which we are very pleased with, is that no-one is given a contract,” he remarked.
He explained that the NSWMA pays the workers on a weekly basis for whatever measured work they do.
“It is not some little man getting a contract and then going to give out some work to someone else. So, that to me, is a very good move and we are happy with what is being done,” he said.
The Executive Director pointed out that there is an allocation of some $143 million to cover the island for the first six months.
“We are well on track with our spending, and well on track to achieve the objectives we have set out for to the end of the first contract period,” he stated.
Mr. Patrick is adamant that the project will remain in budget in 2009/2010, as one of the conditions for going forward is that “we don’t spend the money like drunken failures.”
“We want this programme to succeed, we want it to last, we want Jamaicans to feel good, we want everyone to be happy with their environment, and so we are going to make sure that we spend within budget,” he added.
The corporation is extremely pleased with the work that has been undertaken thus far, and the response from the public has also been favourable, he admitted.
“Right across the island is looking as beautiful as ever, and we are getting letters, phone calls, people are calling the radio stations and saying how happy and pleased they are,” he stated.
“We are very pleased about this. We are pleased about the partnership at NSWMA and their very professional relationship. It is a good partnership, and I think it is something that we want to continue with, as long as the results remain as we are seeing them,” he said.
Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Godfrey Dyer, said that the Fund finances the cleaning up of the resort areas and some of the parks in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Kingston, Negril, Port Antonio and other resort areas.
“It is great and we are very satisfied with the quality of work that is been carried out,” he commented.
Executive Director of the NSWMA, Joan Gordon Webley, endorsed the partnership during the signing which took place last year.
“It was a privilege to be asked to help in the manicuring of Jamaica for Jamaicans and, by extension, our visitors,” she said. “This is a ripple effect for us as, while we are out there collecting the solid waste, we are also able to manicure the lawns of Jamaica.”
She welcomed the collaboration with TPDCo and assured that, “we will not let you down, if we let you down, we let ourselves down, and I know Jamaica will not forgive us for that.”
The initiative forms part of phase two of the ‘Spruce Up Jamaica, Nice up Yuself’ programme, which was launched in May of last year to clean and beautify major resort towns.
The areas to be maintained and beautified include: Sunset Boulevard, Queen’s Drive, Alice Eldemire Drive, Sangster International Airport, Greenwood, Barrett Town, and Rose Hall, St. James; Norman Manley Boulevard, West End Road and Non Pariel Road, Negril; Glistening Waters, Water Square, Salt Marsh Road, Duke Street, Wakefield Road to Water Square, Trelawny.
In St. Ann, Milford Road, Runaway Bay and Discovery Bay; Port Antonio, Foreshore Road to Folly, Neville Antonio Park, and Harbour Street in Portland; and the Palisadoes Strip, Michael Manley Boulevard, Constant Spring Road to Six Miles, Marcus Garvey Drive, South Camp Road and Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston.

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