ST JAMES, Jamaica – The Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) is moving to put an end to illegal rafting on the White River in St Ann.
It comes after a myriad of complaints from visitors and stakeholders. Among the complaints are that of sexual harassment and raftsmen operating in a drunken state, among other criminal activities in breach of the River Rafting Act.
Utilising what it calls a “clear, hold, and reset” strategy, the TPDCo has partnered with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in stopping the illegal activity. The operation includes the posting of closure notice signs which advise the general public that the section of the White River under the bridge is closed to unlicensed activities by the order of the River Rafting Authority.
Illegal rafting has been a longstanding issue and the action comes after several consultation meetings with operators undertaking illegal activities where they were informed of the illegality of their operations and the intention of the authorities to have the activities terminated.
Other public bodies including the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) and the St Ann Municipal Corporation have also served warning and enforcement notices on the illegal operators from as early as October 2022.
A final warning was issued by the St Ann Police who visited the site and requested that operators voluntarily remove their rafts by March 20, 2023, to no avail.