Bartlett Reinforces Tough Stance Against Public Disorder

Jamaica Tourism Minister staging relentless war against public disorder, which, he says poses real threat to safety within tourism.

The need for order was central to a meeting with stakeholders and a town hall meeting hosted by the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism recently as it took its National Consultation on the Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy (DAFS) to the people of Ocho Rios and St. Mary.

The meetings were part of an extensive tour that started with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Mammee Bay Waterwheel ruin, followed by the Ocho Rios Cruise Terminal, Blue Hole and both the Pineapple Craft Market and the stakeholders meeting. The popular spot for White River Rafting is to be visited at a later date.

Espousing a tough stance, the Jamaica Minister of Tourism, Hon. Minister Bartlett, told his audience during the town hall meeting held at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church that while the tourism industry had bounced back and was exceeding projections with record levels of growth, disorder was a real threat that would not be tolerated.

He reiterated that tourism had become the driver of Jamaica’s economic development and belonged to everyone deserving of having the opportunity to earn from it but:

“They can’t get a slice of the pie if there’s disorder.”

Mr. Bartlett said all the components that make up tourism were owned by other sectors but that the industry gave visitors an assurance of safety and security that must be protected. Destination  Assurance should therefore be seen in the context of creating a framework which will guide all players in the industry and bring about harmony among them to operate seamlessly.

He suggested however that it was hard to do that with so many parts to the equation and each going in their own direction so the DAFS was attempting to “pull it all together” under one umbrella that provides the framework and strategy on how to operate with confidence.

Underscoring that tourism belonged to everyone, regardless of social status, Minister Bartlett stressed that “tourism can only operate in a space of order; if there is no order there can be no tourism and so this Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy is designed to enable order.”

He said, when in place, Jamaica will be the only country in the world to have a Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy.

The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has been charged as the guardian of Destination Assurance with the primary responsibility of monitoring, managing and providing the framework within which players in the industry operate.

The Minister noted that as the regulators, TPDCo will be monitoring areas where tourism assets exist with everyone given a chance to benefit. He stated:

“Where we are giving service to Jamaicans and foreigners, we are going to ensure that public order is maintained.”

Mr. Bartlett also disclosed that there will be extensive training and: “In short order we are going to look at those in the informal space and bring them into the formal system,” stressing that “we not throwing out anybody.”

While expressions of important developments in tourism were made along the tour and during the meetings, several issues of concern to industry stakeholders in both St Ann and St Mary were pointed out and are to receive the requisite attention.

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