Regional

'Bring back the love'

MoBay chamber to launch awareness campaign in the resort city

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, October 19, 2017



MONTEGO BAY, St James - The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) has secured commitments of some $5 million to introduce a massive awareness and advertising campaign, dubbed 'ilovemobay', geared towards restoring pride in the resort capital.

According to president of the MBCCI, T'Shura Gibbs, the latest initiative will be launched next month.

“The ilovemobay campaign, which will be launched next month, on the heels of an MoU signed earlier today [Friday], has the potential to impact on a local, regional and international level,” Gibbs explained during her welcome remarks at the opening ceremony of the MBCCI Expo 2017 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre last week.

She expressed excitement about the programme, which is expected to be a tremendous opportunity to bring back the love in Montego Bay, known as the “friendly city”.

“Every single day we each grapple with the lack of pride that plagues this city. From throwing empty fast food containers out the window of a car, to driving without regard for the laws or the other drivers around you, the examples of a lack of care, compassion and concern abound. Fundamentally, they also show a deep and alarming lack of love,” she argued.

Meanwhile, Douglas Gordon, a director of the MBCCI and conceptualiser of 'ilovemobay', is confident that the initiative will get the buy-in from members of the public, including business operators, and will help to remove the negative stigma tarnishing the city's image.

“There are too many honest people living in Montego Bay that are painted with one brush; like everybody here is looking to cut corners, violate the law. That's not the majority of people,” Gordon told the Jamaica Observer West during a recent telephone interview. “But until that majority has something positive to tap into … getting a message of hope that they can view the city differently, we are not going to make forward progress,” he added.

“So it's tapping into all those things collectively. A lot of companies and a lot of entities are trying to have a much more prosperous Montego Bay. You cannot have a more prosperous Montego Bay if you do not have a city with behaviour, with value. With sentiments by the population which says I believe in Montego Bay, I feel good about Montego Bay.”

Gordon also noted that to impact crime, specific programmes will be put in schools, at the workplace, and in the communities, aimed at fostering improved interaction with law enforcers.

“So it's aimed at a very broad spectrum of individuals,” the MBCCI director emphasised.

He explained that the message of the massive awareness and advertising programme will be carried on billboards, by way of the media, pins, in schools, and public meetings.

“We will also do billboards, television advertisement … but in addition you are going to see T-shirts for sale, pins for sale, memorabilia… which will finance the whole project.

“It's about touching that nerve to say, I am from here, I am proud to be from here, and I want people to respect what Montego Bay is.”

In the meantime, Gibbs disclosed that a study to better understand some of the factors that impact crime in St James, done by the University of the West Indies, Western Jamaica campus, which was commissioned by the previous Gloria Henry-led MBCCI administration, is now ready.

The study, she said, is to be released in a couple weeks.

“The report has now been received and is being reviewed, and will be released within the next two weeks. What I can tell you now, though, is that it has been extremely instructive in understanding some of the fundamental dynamics that drive crime in St James,” Gibbs told attendees at the Expo.

“This is a first step in understanding how we play a long-term role in addressing some of these structural issues to pave the way for a safer and more productive economic environment for Montego Bay.”

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