Spanish Town to benefit from north/south leg of Highway 2000Friday, September 18, 2015
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – As efforts continue to develop Heritage Tourism in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Member of Parliament for Eastern St Catherine, Denise Daley, says the opening of the north/south leg of Highway 2000, set for early 2016, will provide a significant boost.
The Member of Parliament, who spoke with JIS News, following her contribution to the State of Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives, on September 16, said tour guides for the project have been trained, and currently a sensitization programme is on to further prepare residents for the plan.
“Everything that we are doing is geared towards bringing in tourists into the communities,” the MP said, noting that currently, scores of tourists visit the area, which was Jamaica’s capital from 1534 to 1655, to get acquainted with its history.
“They take buses and come. Imagine when they have a shorter journey to take by the highway. Several persons out of Europe, they know about the history, and they want to be associated with the history,” she added, pointing out that this project has the potential of changing the employment landscape of Spanish Town.
Daley said that under the rejuvenation of Spanish Town, of which the tourism project is a part, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), is spending some $64 million in the first phase.
The initiative is being coordinated through a multi-sector group involving the St Catherine Parish Council, the business community, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), and other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the MP said crime has been reduced in the area, and “we are hoping to keep it under control, in such a way that people will feel comfortable coming to the town.”
On training, Miss Daley said some 100 persons have been interviewed, and by the end of October, 30 will be placed in institutions to gain skills, or to re-familiarise themselves with skills that they gained, so that they can enter the working environment. A weekly stipend of $2,500 is provided to each participant.
The MP told the House that she is investing heavily in education for her constituents, as that effort will empower them permanently.
On the infrastructure, she reported that 11 roads have been rehabilitated under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), adding that several social projects and infrastructure are being funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Daley also noted that 900 land titles are ready for presentation to beneficiaries.