JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) is spearheading an anti-harassment initiative, geared at maintaining order, safety and security within the resort areas.
  • Executive Director of the TPDCo, Dennis Hickey, noted that through the establishment of a National Anti-harassment Task Force and the assistance of the police, various initiatives are being implemented to streamline operations within the industry.
  • He pointed out that the Task Force was established as one of the measures to bring jet ski operation under stronger management.

The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) is spearheading an anti-harassment initiative, geared at maintaining order, safety and security within the resort areas.

Speaking with JIS News, Executive Director of the TPDCo, Dennis Hickey, noted that through the establishment of a National Anti-harassment Task Force and the assistance of the police, various initiatives are being implemented to streamline operations within the industry.

He pointed out that the Task Force was established as one of the measures to bring jet ski operation under stronger management.

“We are putting in new measures to include extending the distance from which a jet ski can operate from shore. It used to be just a little beyond the swimming zone, which is 30 metres; now no jet-ski can operate within 200 metres of shore,” he pointed out.

Mr. Hickey explained that all operators have to be registered with the Maritime Authority of Jamaica; commercial sites are designated and tightly managed and controlled; and people are gradually getting their licences.

The anti-harassment taskforce has also put in place recommended measures to streamline operation at the ports through a rotation system.

“Once you are not on that rotation for the port, you cannot congregate and then try to ‘load on’ tourist to your vehicle…we know that once we bring some order to the transport side, we are well on the way to solving some of those harassment issues,” Mr. Hickey highlighted.

The Executive Director noted that soon, contract carriage operators will have to present a contract indicating the tourism entity to which they are affiliated or based. This, he added, will aid in maintaining order within the transport system.

“We are tightening the licensing system with the public transport operators…we have met with them and engaged the Transport Authority who have agreed to the measures, so we are just working out details that we all can accept and continue working with,” Mr. Hickey continued.

Integral to the anti-harassment thrust is the continued training of operators, vendors and service providers within the sector.

“We are actively engaged with Heart Trust/NTA to assist us in carrying out some of our training and certification programmes, to  ensure that we get greater coverage, higher levels of certification and access to potentially all the people who work in the sector,” Mr. Hickey said.

The Executive Director informed that as the agency implements initiatives, recommendations are being presented for the establishment of an anti-harassment division. This, he argued, is essential, given the national importance of maintaining order in the resort areas and to provide continuous monitoring of the sector.

“It is not just about policing for us, but also social intervention, because we do recognize that in some instances, it is lack of opportunity that causes people to go out to seek that opportunity. We are also aware that interspersed with that search for opportunity is sometimes criminal intent, so we have to make sure that it is managed both from an enforcement point of view as well as ensuring that we develop some long term social intervention strategies for solving some of that problem,” Mr. Hickey reasoned.