NEGRIL, Hanover — With several new projects on stream for the resort town of Negril, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett is calling for a public order reset to rid the area of unlawful practices and to protect the fragile industry.
"It is not right to say that because you are poor you can't be orderly. It is wrong and we must stop that culture. And those people who are encouraging people to operate outside of the law and to [put buildings] on people's property and public spaces, we have passed that stage and we are not going back there. So, I think that we need to send a message to them. We are tired of that, declared Bartlett while addressing a Negril stakeholders meeting at Boardwalk Village in Hanover.
The stakeholders meeting, during which Bartlett announced a number of projects to come on stream, followed a tour of two other tourism projects in Hanover.
According to Bartlett, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has a plan for Negril which coincides with the tourism ministry's destinations analysis and study which was started a few years ago.
Bartlett said the prime minister has taken things "a little further" by tasking critical agencies of the Government to see to the implementation of the vision of re-imaging the town of Negril and making it into a town of excellence.
As reported by the Jamaica Observer last year, part of the vision entails the repositioning of the Norman Manley main road to ensure the availability of more space for development.
In addition, Royal Palms will be developed into an eco-tourism attraction with the development of a new water supply system and the transformation of the Negril Beach Park into a prototype of the Harmony Beach Park in St James. The craft and artisan village in Negril is also slated for development.
Senior adviser and strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright, also pointed out that an international airport is also being looked at for Negril, while there is the development for the town centre to be carried out by Factories Corporation of Jamaica, which will involve significant upgrading of the sewage system and the beautification of the resort town.
"So, what you are seeing is a huge development strategy being put in by Prime Minister Holness for tourism and to ensure that Negril, in three to five years, is a completely different place that is very well organised and structured," Seiveright told the Observer.
In the meantime, Bartlett told stakeholders that there are planned developments to touch the communities of Little Bay, Salmon Point, Orange, Retirement and Brighton, all in Westmoreland.
"A brand new corridor will be developed for different modalities which will focus on the different passion points of our visitors, recognising that people come [to Jamaica] for many things — health and wellness, gastronomy and entertainment in all of its forms," stated Bartlett, who pointed out that the plan for an entertainment zone in Negril is well advanced.