Minister announces initiative to save Negril beach

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica: Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has announced that a major initiative, involving the government and a number of agencies, is being pursued to save the Negril beach.

Bartlett said the initiative is aimed at the sustainable re-establishment of the world famous seven-mile stretch of beach.

“I am very pleased to tell you that both the Office of the Prime Minister, through Minister (Daryl) Vaz, on the developmental side and the environmental side, and ourselves (Ministry of Tourism), are at one in an initiative to deal with the issue of the beach enrichment program,” said Bartlett.

The tourism minister said the project would involve looking at reef issues and determining how it can be restored and to develop a program to re-establish the beach and make it sustainable.

Bartlett made his comments while addressing a luncheon with members of the Negril Chamber of Commerce and tourism stakeholders last week, following a tour of tourism facilities in Negril as part of his Tourism Week activities.

Bartlett said discussions have been held towards the implementation of the project, both locally and internationally.

“Only a few weeks ago I was in Kazakhstan with the director general in my office, and we put forward a program on the Negril Beach enrichment to the World Tourism Organization for consideration,” he said.

Bartlett said that the proposal entailed a new study to determine what is to be done. The study and the beach enrichment program are estimated to cost approximately US$30.5 million.

He mentioned that the Tourism Enhancement Fund will have a part to play in the program, as there is a determination that Negril must be restored to pristine form. He also stated that tourism stakeholders, and other residents of Negril, have a major role to play in the process.

Bartlett said key issues in the sustainable re-establishment program are a 100 per cent connection to a central sewage disposal system, proper management of water sports activities and other elements which disturb the ecosystem in the area, the control of how buildings are constructed along the beachfront and environmental awareness on the part of residents. (JIS)

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