Bartlett announces development projects for Negril

Regional

Bartlett announces development projects for Negril

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, August 06, 2020

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland - Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says his Administration is moving to complete a number of development projects, and to pursue others, in the resort town Negril in coming months.

At the same time, he expressed confidence that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration will receive a second term in office whenever the upcoming parliamentary elections are held, which, he said, will allow him enough time to complete unfinished projects.

“We have been looking at a number of projects and I know [Dr Wykeham] McNeill (Opposition spokesman on tourism and Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Western), and I have had discussions about them,” said Bartlett.

“He [Dr McNeill] has a list for me and I am happy that he has a list because what it means is that it is going to take some time for me to cover that list, so I will be here for a long time to come, and he [Dr McNeill] is fully cognisant of that.”

Dr Mc Neill said, however, that it will be his People's National Party (PNP) who will oversee the development projects after the elections.

He noted that a number of projects for Negril has been on the books since 2015 during the former PNP's Administration, but the JLP Administration has failed to implement the projects over the past four years.

“What I will say is that there is good news. The good news is that I can state that the first project will be done by the new PNP Administration when we take over [as Government],” Dr McNeill stressed.

Bartlett said the derelict Norman Manley Beach Park will be the first on the list to be completed.

Five years ago, the former PNP Administration had put the beach park project to tender. However, Dr McNeill said nothing else had been done since the JLP took office in February 2016, with the exception of the refurbishing of the bathrooms.

“The Norman Manley Beach Park is the primary public beach, free access beach to the people of Negril. This is where everyone comes, the family, everyone. In 2014, 2015, the park was closed down. It was handed over from the planning authority who managed it to the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo),” disclosed McNeill.

“It is in the centre of the town. We wanted it to have a play area for children. It would have entertainment areas, proper bathrooms, change rooms, lockers, a proper public beach, and kept in perpetuity for the people of Jamaica and Negril, free of charge. Everything was done, funds put in place and designs,” Dr McNeill explained.

Bartlett, who was addressing the handing-over ceremony for a new ambulance to the Emergency Medical Services of the Negril Fire Station in Westmoreland, last Friday, said an artisan village will also be constructed in the resort town.

“We are finishing the one in Falmouth. We are supposed to open it in another few days and [then] we will be doing Negril, we will be doing Ocho Rios, and we will be doing Montego Bay,” he announced.

“It is a new dimension that we are taking this element of our experience in order for our craft vendors to become entrepreneurs. So, the craft vendor must not just see himself now as the purveyor of goods that come from Thailand and T- shirt that comes from Hong Kong, but he must be the merchandiser of Jamaican products that emphasise the specificity of our people and the indigenousness of the offering that we are providing.”

Dr McNeill later told the Jamaica Observer West that the artisan village Bartlett spoke of forms part of an $80-million craft market development project that was on the books for Negril in 2015. He said in 2016, the minister made a promise to craft traders in Negril that the project would be completed. However, Dr McNeill stressed that work is yet to commence.

Bartlett also announced plans for the completion of the Whitehall Housing Development in Negril.

The development is an Operation Pride project, which now falls under the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ). However, the HAJ is faced with challenges of securing resources to provide roads, drainage, electricity, potable water and sewage disposal systems for a number of the informal settlements.

Bartlett also said efforts are being made to have the Negril Stadium completed.

“There are some issues but we have to overcome them because... we going to finish that stadium and put it in immaculate condition so that Negril will be proud that it has a stadium that can compete with and compare favourably also with the Montego Bay one at Catherine Hall,” stated Bartlett.


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