Jamaica Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has charged the newly-established Negril Destination Assurance Council (Negril DAC) with safeguarding the western tourist resort area and ensuring its integrity.
“The Negril DAC must take control of the destination. We are providing the legislative and legal framework for you; we are helping to facilitate capacity building but the action on the ground, the ownership of your destination, must be yours,” charged Minister Bartlett a yesterday’s (July 13) inaugural meeting of the body that has replaced the Negril Resort Board.
Explaining the difference between the DACs and the now defunct Resort Boards, Minister Bartlett said this was to be seen in the structure and the broader intent “because the Destination Assurance Council is not just about the look and feel of the destination but it is about the reputation of the destination and involves all the key governance players who have a role to play in ensuring that the destination remains pristine and safe.”
The meeting, which was held at Couples Swept Away, was attended by a wide cross-section of stakeholders, under the chairmanship of Elaine Allen-Bradley and included a detailed look at the Ministry of Tourism, its various divisions and agencies and their functions.
The Negril Destination Assurance Council (Negril DAC) is established with Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett issuing the Council with a charge to take control of the resort area and ensure its integrity. The Negril DAC extends its reach to Whitehouse in Westmoreland and Hopewell in Hanover. Minister Bartlett (3rd left) delivered his charge at the Council’s inaugural meeting on Thursday (July 13) at the Couples Swept Away Resort. He is flanked by (from left) Council member Ken Cooney; Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer; Chairman of the Negril DAC, Elaine Allen-Bradley and Council member Gilbert Fender.
The Council comprises representatives of organizations integral to fulfilling the mandate of ensuring the quality, standards and integrity of resort’s tourism product are maintained, including the Negril Green Island Area Local Planning Authority; the Jamaica Fire Brigade; Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA); the Municipal Corporation for the parish and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), among others.
Minister Bartlett implored the Negril DAC “to guard the destination as if it’s yours, with all the pride and the joy that you have and protect it. We want you to hold dear unto you those things that will inure unto the development and the sustainability of Negril.”
He said some strong decisions would have to be made with regards to recapturing some of the areas that have been lost “and this means that stakeholders are going to have to be educated to understand that this is how the metropolis of Negril, as it will emerge, is going to move forward.”
The Negril DAC extends from Hopewell, Hanover, to Whitehouse, Westmoreland, and their environs and has the support of the two capital towns in both parishes. Minister Bartlett pointed out that while they were a key part, the Council would be driven by the local people.
The Tourism Minister underscored that safety and security was another key component of the Council and integral to its effectiveness was that an institutional framework was being established to enable access and information flow.
He said there would be a move away from having “a political talk shop into more of a technical framework because everybody who is on it, by and large, is competent in one area or another for delivery of the key outcomes.”
This was endorsed by Mrs. Allen-Bradley. “We’re not going to have a talk shop, as it has been for years, which has led Negril to decay and abandonment; we’re going to move forward hence moving it out of the political realm and into the community and the people on the ground.”
The Negril DAC Chairman said a start would be made to clean up Negril and make sure all the people are included. “Remember that Negril is a tourist town and people would want to see it that way; not a dilapidated decaying place,” she said.
The Negril DAC will meet once a month and, eventually, the public will be invited to air their views on how they could help the Council to make Negril a better town.
The Council was welcomed by stakeholders who have been assured that several projects, which have been on the drawing board for the resort town, would be implemented overtime to complement those that have already been completed.
PHOTO: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett (center); Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer (left) and Chairman of the newly-established Negril Destination Assurance Council (Negril DAC), Elaine Allen-Bradley, respond to questions from members of the Council at its inaugural meeting on Thursday (July 13) at the Couples Swept Away Resort. Minister Bartlett charged the Council to take control of the resort area and ensure its integrity.