Bartlett knocks public order breaches
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has made it clear that he will not tolerate any form of disorder at “tourism assets” and warned his constituents that they will not be excused because they voted for him.
“I want to warn you, we are coming to make sure that those spaces are open and available for use by all. And it doesn’t matter if you are my constituents, you understand? it doesn’t matter! If you expect that I require you to vote for me and because you are going to vote for me you are going to be part of that culture of disorder, don’t expect it!” warned the tourism minister, who is also Member of Parliament for St James East Central.
“We make no excuse now for the users of tourism assets who believe that they can flaunt every law, walk beside every rule, and make the comfort of the average people in Jamaica who use those spaces a miserable experience.”
Last week the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo), in a news release, noted that after multiple attempts to end illegal rafting on the White River in St Ann it has moved to terminate the activity.
“This comes after many consultations with offending parties and a myriad of complaints from visitors and stakeholders. Among the complaints are that of sexual harassment, raftsmen operating in a drunken state, other criminal activities, and a prolonged breach of the River Rafting Act,” stated a section of the TPDCo news release.
Utilising a “clear, hold, and reset” strategy, the TPDCo partnered with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in terminating the illegal activities. The operation also included closure notice signs being posted, advising the general public that the section of the White River under the bridge is closed to unlicenced activities by order of the River Rafting Authority which “regulates and controls river rafting in Jamaica”.
Addressing a tourism stakeholders meeting at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Thursday, following a tour of the resort city of Montego Bay, Bartlett, while not mentioning the White River matter, emphasised that “the issue of public order represents the single most critical area of destination assurance”.
He was accompanied on tour by Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang; Member of Parliament for St James Central Heroy Clarke; deputy mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Richard Vernon; members of TPDCo, the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, among other stakeholders.
“I want to say very loudly, and hopefully it is reproduced in full, that destination assurance is fully predicated on public order and that the Ministry of Tourism and the tourism sector stands squarely behind the Ministry of National Security to secure and ensure public order in the public spaces of Jamaica. And we object and we repudiate and we absolutely have no disdain for a view or a practice or, in fact, a philosophy which suggests that because of class, colour, race, creed, or economic station you should be excused from good public conduct,” Bartlett underscored.
“And I believe that Jamaica’s future is doomed if we have, on any side, political or otherwise, religious or otherwise, purveyors of thought that continue to give the impression that you must be excused because you poor for poor behaviour and for disruptive and disorderly conduct.
And no arguments about the historic process and the fact that we are a creature of some historic experience should excuse us from the responsibility to ensure that each and every access public space with freedom and ease,” he added.
The first set of consultations took place with two meetings in Negril on Thursday, March 23, 2023, firstly, with members of the Negril Destination Assurance Council, tourism stakeholders, and public and private partners at the Boardwalk Village.
The tourism minister announced that through the Spruce Up programme the Ministry of Tourism will be working with the police and the municipal corporation to not only clean up and prepare areas that could become centres of excellence “but also incentivise users of those spaces, comercial and otherwise, to ensure that we create a culture of public order within the tourism spaces of Montego Bay”.
“And I know that we will succeed. We did it in Negril, we started the Spruce Up in Negril on the 19th of April. We hope to start that programme, and we are going to do it in Ocho Rios,” Bartlett noted.