New Jamaican tourism minister gets down to business

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Shortly after being officially sworn into office last week, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, and his colleague Minister of State, Damion Crawford, hit the ground running as they moved swiftly to secure detailed information on the activities of the ministry which they now lead.

Dr. McNeill said that, “following the swearing in ceremony we both met with senior officials from the ministry and several of its key agencies, who provided a detailed brief on the major activities and program of their respective organizations.”

McNeill emphasized that “in-keeping with the charge issued by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to all the ministers and state ministers, we saw it fit to get the ball rolling immediately by getting finer details on the activities of the ministry, which will aid us in addressing the critical issues affecting tourism and entertainment locally. Given the challenges facing our country at this time it is evident that there can be no honeymoon period as we seek to develop these key sectors.”

“We met with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Jennifer Griffith, Director General Ms. Carrole Guntley and Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board and Director of Tourism, Mr. John Lynch,” said McNeill. “The Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Mr. Stafford Robinson, was also present as well as Mr. Gairy Taylor, Acting Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.), Mr. Paul BadreSingh of TPDCo and Mr. Lionel Reid, Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations Ltd. (JAMVAC).

Following the meeting, which was held at The Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston, McNeill said he was “very pleased with the discussions, which were very constructive and cordial.

“This session now paves the way for a slate of meetings which we will have with industry stakeholders including the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Association of Jamaica Attractions Limited (AJAL) and other associations and partners, to facilitate well needed consultation.”

Crawford said the “meeting was a very crucial one as it provided the platform for early discussions on the challenges which we face and the steps which will have to be taken by the ministry and its agencies in order to grow the tourism and entertainment sectors respectively.”

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