McNeill calls for openness about new $17-m MoBay sign

Monday, November 19, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People’s National Party (PNP) shadow minister of tourism Dr Wykeham McNeill is questioning the cost of a new welcome sign in Montego Bay, St James, which is to be completed in December.

McNeill's concern came after Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett earlier today announced that the project, which is to be executed by the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd (TPDCo), is being sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund to the tune of $17 million dollars.

The Opposition spokesman said the Government needs to urgently address the issue as the public has a right to know details about this “seemingly ostentatious” development and why this “questionable expenditure” was taking place at this time.

In a statement this afternoon, McNeill reminded Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett that protracted and tough wage negotiations with the public sector workers are still in progress in some instances, and there are urgent needs in education, health and national security.

“The fact that government is willing to expend so much public funds on a single sign is symptomatic of deep levels of disdain for public sentiments,” McNeill added.

The 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign is set to be placed outside the Sangster International Airport (SIA) roundabout in St James. It will replace the initial sign at the same location which was mowed down in a motor vehicle crash last year.

“While it is necessary to have the sign replaced, from all accounts, it would appear that we are spending almost a million dollars on each letter in the words “Welcome to Montego Bay”. There is need for transparency in this development. The public needs to be told if there are other works related to the mounting of this sign. The bill of quantities should also to be made public, and also we need to know who are the contractors on this project” McNeill said.

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