Regional

One Negril!

Negril Chamber against development into 'new and old' resort town

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, January 03, 2019

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland —President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce Daniel Grizzle has made it clear that the chamber will not support any plans that will see the development of one section of the resort townand the neglect of the other.

“You may have heard a lot of gossip recently about a new development coming to Negril. We hear about a new Negril and old Negril, but there is only one Negril. There can never be two Negrils. There can never be an old Negril and a new Negril. There is only one Negril and we will be standing up firmly for that, the development must be something that fits Negril,” Grizzle declared.

“We should not try to make Negril Cameroon or Miami Beach. We are unique and we must develop Negril and keep our uniqueness. That's what makes Negril profitable. That's what makes us popular, and we should never, never quickly adopt someone else's idea.”

Grizzle was speaking at the Negril Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala Dinner and Dance held at Couples Swept Away in the resort town recently.

The chamber president was speaking against the background of talks in Government and other circles about proposals on the table for the development of a section of the town, which will include high rise buildings, while other sections would remain in its present state.

During the gala dinner, Grizzle argued that while the chamber and the people of Negril are not against development, nothing should be imposed on them.

He said there is a need for all parties involved to sit at the table and collectively decide on what they want the resort town to be.

“Yes, you will have change. Time demands that things change. Things will never remain the same, and there may be that some parts of Negril will have more than what the rest of Negril has, in terms of density. It is something that we need to negotiate. It is something that we need to talk about. It is not something that should be imposed upon us,” stated a strident Negril Chamber president.

Grizzle, who is also a hotelier in Negril, noted that “any development must reflect that of the local people and the beautiful resort town.”

The resort town of Negril is shared by both Hanover Western and Westmoreland Western with the larger and most popular hotels located in Hanover, while the town's centre is located in Westmoreland.

Grizzle told the Jamaica Observer West that there is currently a drive to increase the density of Negril by allowing developers to construct buildings several floors up on the Hanover side, while the smaller resorts on the Westmoreland side, would remain as is.

“What we are afraid of that they will do, is to allow down this side (Westmoreland side) to become a slum, while up the top (Hanover side) will become the five-star resorts, and that we are against. We want one Negril,” Grizzle stressed.

The Observer West was unable to get a comment from the Negril/ Green Island Area Local Planning Authority (NGIALPA) about the proposal.

Last month, during IWECO-Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States function in Negril, Daryl Vaz, the minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation reportedly mentioned the proposal.

And noting that Negril is capable of contributing $1.5 billion to the economy of Jamaica annually if the resorts in the town are managed properly, Grizzle pointed out that there are “basic things” that are needed for the developing resort.

“We believe that we need proper infrastructure such as water, a proper sewage plant, proper roads to come into Negril, and we need government services. We see no reason why we should have to go all the way to Lucea or Savanna-la-Mar to conduct our business, for example to pay our taxes,” he stressed, as he urged the gathering to “collectively build one great Negril.”

Part proceeds from the gala will go towards the upgrading of the Negril Health Centre.

The chamber has so far raised over $2 million of the over $100 million needed for the project, that is endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

Treasurer of the chamber, Sophia Grizzle Roumel said early this year, the chamber will be launching an online campaign through its website in an effort to garner more funds. She also disclosed that assistance is expected from the health ministry in the form of design plans, the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and ISSA Trust, as well as the Rotary Club of Negril, through its overseas partners.


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