TPDCo, Vaz move to help struggling Rio Grande raft captains

TPDCo, Vaz move to help struggling Rio Grande raft captains

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern, Ann-Marie Vaz has added her efforts to those of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) to have rafting on the Rio Grande resumed in a safe form.

Normal rafting operations have resumed at the Portland based facility following its lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic but the raft captains, already hurting from the damage to their vessels which were parked on the banks of the river doing the lockdown, were struggling to meet the reopening protocols introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But TPDCo, which is the operator of Rio Grande Rafting and Attractions, has stepped in to help by sanitising the rafting facilities at Berrydale and Rafters Rest. The company has also held sensitisation session with all 83 raft captains.

In her contribution, Vaz provided the raft captains with four gallons of hand sanitisers, 85 spray bottles, 200 masks, gloves, and individual hand sanitisers.

According to Vaz, her love for and interest in tourism - more so Rio Grande rafting - influenced her decision to make the donation.

"It was an absolute pleasure to assist these rafts-men, some of whom are the breadwinners in their family,” said Vaz.

"COVID-19 has changed the way how we used to do things and it is important that we observe all the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health. All raft captains are now equipped with masks, hand sanitisers, and gloves to carry-out their functions. I am well aware of the challenges facing them and I stand ready to assist.

"I will be providing them with wires, which is used to tie the bamboo together to make the vessels firm. I am committed to the development of tourism in east Portland, and as such I am making it a priority to develop the basic infrastructure in this constituency including roads,” added Vaz.

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