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  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Courtesy Corps will have to be more responsive and given the legal authority to act.
  • The Minister said it is critical that when visitors arrive, they enjoy their stay in an environment that is free from fear.
  • They also guide visitors away from areas likely to be unsafe; advise visitors of the correct charges for transportation to and from any part of the island when required to do so...

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Courtesy Corps will have to be more responsive and given the legal authority to act.

“The duties of the Courtesy Corps simply need an enforcement component, where they can complement the police by having power of arrest and where they are more proactive in crime prevention and the harassment of our visitors,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett was speaking recently with tourism stakeholders at the Ocho Rios cruise ship pier, in St. Ann.

“We are going to have discussions with the Ministry of National Security and the leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to see how we can collaborate together. We have to look and see how we can create a mechanism that will allow for a smiling, warm and friendly look, while at the same time have a strong and forceful hand to deal with situations as they arise,” the Minister said.

The courtesy corps, a security unit that falls under the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), was established in 2009 to enhance the safety, service and comfort of visitors by strategically deploying courtesy officers in the resort areas of Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio.

The Minister said it is critical that when visitors arrive, they enjoy their stay in an environment that is free from fear.

“We have to re-examine the duties of the Courtesy Corps to see what needs to be strengthened and how we can create whatever legislative framework that is necessary to give them the power to act,” Mr. Bartlett said.

Their duties, the Minister noted, include the provision of patrol services in designated areas to assist in preventing the harassment of visitors; the provision of information and direction to visitors and local residents, including the location of attractions, restaurants and places of interest; and supervising the orderly dispatch of transportation from cruise ship piers to selected venues.

They also guide visitors away from areas likely to be unsafe; advise visitors of the correct charges for transportation to and from any part of the island when required to do so; take action to prevent visitors from using unlicensed vehicles; and detain persons breaching the Tourist Board Act within prescribed areas.

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