Holness wants Spanish to be Jamaica's second language

Friday, October 19, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says it is of strategic importance that the appropriate programmes be put in place, making Spanish a second language in Jamaica.

Speaking at the official opening of the Excellence Oyster Bay Hotel in Trelawny on October 18, Holness said there are so many Spanish investments in Jamaica, that “bilateral cooperation” with that country could be even stronger by encouraging greater use of the Spanish language here.

The prime minister reminded that Jamaica and Spain have enjoyed a successful, meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship for many years, dating back centuries.

He said bilateral cooperation between the two countries has never been better, having strengthened over the past decade to where Spain is now one of the leading sources of direct foreign investments in Jamaica.

“With so much investment from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries in the region, I think very soon we will have to emphasise and put in place programmes that make Spanish a second language,” Holness added.

The prime minister said it has not gone unnoticed the interest being shown in Jamaica's tourism by Spanish investors, adding that the Government will do everything to “encourage even more investments”.

“We do take note of the Spanish investment of US$1.7 billion in Jamaica's tourism industry. This is evident in the 14 hotels, wellness centres and construction projects undertaken by Spanish companies across the island,” he noted.

Holness also pointed out that 25 per cent of the rooms that are built in Jamaica are the product of Spanish investments, and cited the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the two countries back in May in Madrid, Spain, to facilitate the strengthening of bilateral, regional and multilateral relations to include areas of trade and investment, tourism, energy, agriculture and education.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Excellence Group, Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Antonio de Montaner, said the opening of the US$110-million property is not only a win for the Group, but also for Jamaica.

“The Excellence Oyster Bay signifies our true commitment to Jamaica. Throughout this whole process, we worked with 350 local suppliers, who provided an astounding total of US$70 million worth of goods and services. Additionally, we created over 1,500 jobs for Jamaicans during the construction phase and a further 700 new jobs in connection to the daily operation of the resort,” he noted.

The CEO said he is grateful for the support the company received, both at the local and national levels.

“The Excellence Group will be building on our investment in Jamaica where, in the immediate future, through the development of the second phase of Excellence Oyster Bay, we should soon be seeing some impressive beach villas with private pools,” he said.

The Excellence Group is a family-owned and operated resort chain, specialising in hotel management and worldwide real estate development, with a primary presence in the Caribbean.

Situated on the private peninsula of Oyster Bay, the resort offers an adult-only all-inclusive experience to a select high-end clientele. It features 315 suites, inclusive of 800 square ft. junior suites and 2,000 square ft. upper suites, with panoramic ocean views and direct beach access.

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