Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has assured that funding is in place to implement the $1.2 billion transformational development projects, which he announced in his Sectoral Debate presentation on July 2, in the House of Representatives.
The Minister pointed out that the plans and activities span several agencies, with gestation periods of up to nine months.
Dr. McNeill, who was speaking to journalists at a post-Sectoral Debate press briefing, hosted by Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, at Jamaica House, on Wednesday, July 3, said the approach taken by the Ministry was to announce the plans when they had been completed, instead of during the planning stages.
The projects, being financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) include: the refurbishing and upgrading of the Ocho Rios cruise ship terminal, at a cost of $400 million; lighting of the ‘Elegant Corridor’ in Montego Bay, St. James, at a cost of $400 million; the installation of bicycle tracks and pedestrian pathways along the Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril, at a cost of $170 million; the rehabilitation of the Naval Hospital and the creation of a museum in Port Royal, as well as the upgrading of films shown at a state-of-the-art theatre that has already been established there. Some $220 million has been earmarked for this project.
A Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed for implementation of the projects, and the funds transferred to the implementing agencies.
Dr. McNeill informed that other areas are being looked at for further development, in the next phase of the transformational projects. These include Falmouth, where he conducted a tour last week. Discussions have also been held regarding projects for Port Antonio, Portland, and Spanish Town, St. Catherine.
“There are projects we are doing now, but in the meantime, we are developing the next wave of transformational projects…The actual planning is very detailed, and it will take us some time to roll them out, but we are going to be working on a series of these projects,” he added.
Contact: Alphea Saunders