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The Craft Council must be reinstated without delay, McNeill insists

Thursday, July 26, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People's National Party (PNP) Shadow Minister of Tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeill is calling on the Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett to immediately reinstate the Craft Council, which has ceased functioning with the change of administration.

McNeill, in a release from the PNP today, said that he established the Craft Council in 2014 and included representatives/presidents from all the craft markets, the owners and operators of the markets, artisans and representatives from the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).

According to McNeill, at a meeting that was initiated by the All Island Craft Traders Association on Monday, to which he was invited, the traders expressed their frustration and dissatisfaction with the treatment being meted out to them.

He said the craft traders also voiced that they were being treated with scant regard by Bartlett and outlined three primary areas of concern including what he said is the apparent disbanding of the Craft Council, which gave the members an avenue for meaningful input into the development of their sector.

McNeill also knocked what he called Bartlett's insistence on forging ahead with artisan villages, “a concept that has not been properly explained to the sector and with which the All Island Association has real concerns”.

He said that there was a lack of meaningful dialogue with the minister/ministry on the development of the tourism sector in general.

“$80 million were allocated from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) in the first year to assist with the upgrading, management, training and importantly, the marketing of the industry and sector. The stakeholders were in charge of the governing process and would determine how best to develop the sector. This approach ensured they would have real input in determining their future and fortunes,” said McNeill.

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