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Bartlett orders review of $17-m Montego Bay welcome sign

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has ordered a full review of the $17 million budgeted for the 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign and attraction.

According to a release from the ministry today, Bartlett has instructed the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism to conduct the review.

The minister is responding to concerns raised by the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) and members of the public, who expressed concern about the “seemingly ostentatious” sum being spent on the sign.

“Further, private sector interests in Montego Bay, including some members of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have committed support for the building of the new sign and attraction and will provide financial support amounting to $5million for its execution.

“With the input of the private sector, Government's financial input will be significantly reduced,” the ministry said.
The new sign is expected to be an attraction for the millions of visitors as well as locals who traverse that busy thoroughfare. The development also falls within the extension of the Eastern Gateway Project, which is a series of beautification works running west along the Elegant Corridor from Greenwood, to the MBJ Sangster International Airport roundabout.

In explaining the move to provide financial support, prominent businessman John Byles said, “We believe that this welcome sign will be a significant addition to the allure and prestige of the city of Montego Bay. The city represents the heartbeat of tourism and deserves a monument that will be fitting for our guests and locals and as such we are more than willing to help mitigate the costs to erect it”.

Bartlett in welcoming private sector support said, “What this means is that we will not stand the full cost of executing this critical showpiece for the hub of our tourism activities. As I have indicated before, this is more than simply a sign, this will be a conversation piece for years to come.”

The Tourism Product Development Company Ltd (TPDCo), will execute the project with funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), yesterday provided a breakdown of the costs associated with the sign.

Read: TPDCo breaks down $17-m cost for MoBay welcome sign

The cost includes a dual base facing the east and west, estimated at $8 million, lettering for $3 million, electrical work for $2 million, irrigation for $1 million and a contingency sum of $3 million.

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