The Jamaica Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeil, spoke at the official launch of the JET/TEF “Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica” Public Education Campaign today. ETN is publishing a full transcript of his address:
Our tourism industry has an enviable record of success. Year after year, it provides thousands of jobs and earns valuable foreign exchange that contributes significantly to economic growth and social development. This is not merely a happy accident but the result of deliberate and well thought out policies, strategies and plans implemented by successive administrations. Of course, our tourism product enters the highly sophisticated global market with the competitive advantage of outstanding physical beauty, a vibrant history, culture and people…the latter often credited with being our best asset.
Paradoxically, tourism which is so beneficial, if not managed with vigilance, can threaten the very factors that attract visitors to our island. This is why we treat as a matter of priority, environmental management, and most relevant to this event, the mitigation of potential damage to the environment.
We must maintain a delicate balance in these two critical areas – with due care and timely interventions when necessary – to ensure that the industry is sustainable.
Let us be clear – the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment takes a special interest in these matters not merely to ensure the sustainability of the industry but equally to protect and preserve our environment for ourselves as a people. One of the tenets of the Tourism Master Plan is sustainable development – a key part of which is environmental sustainability. We play an active and vigilant role in environmental protection and preservation in partnership with governmental and non-governmental agencies, stakeholders and communities.
We have proven time and time again that consultation and consensus produce the best outcomes.
We invest heavily in our beaches and are engaged in the upgrading of 14 public beaches across the island, from Boston Beach in the East to Negril in the west.
Accordingly, between 2012 and the end of this year, the Tourism Enhancement Fund will have expended nearly $500 million on environmental initiatives. These projects are carried out in collaboration with a number of Ministries and entities as well as with non-governmental and community organizations, such as the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET).
The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment also works closely with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
Through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, (TEF), the Ministry is providing financing for the development and implementation of a holistic plan for the protection of the tourism product.
This plan includes:
• a study of national knowledge, practices and behaviour
• support for a National Air Quality Programme
• carrying capacity studies
• promulgation and finalization of Development Orders
• and the establishment of a Wildlife Sanctuary at Edgecombe, Westmoreland
The implementation of these plans began in the third quarter of last year and have a projected completion date of late 2016.
NEPA is also working on a project schedule for the establishment of a Black River Watershed Protection Management Unit. A total of $2.7 million has been allocated for this project.
We are also working with Non-Governmental Organizations such as our host for this morning’s function – the Jamaica Environment Trust. JET has a fine reputation for vigorously pursuing its objectives of serving the nation’s interest through environmental education and advocacy.
The Ministry and its agencies have previously partnered with JET to promote and execute annual International Coastal Cleanup Day activities, which have been very successful with some 7,400 volunteers participating in the 2014 staging.
But a one off venture is not enough. We recognize the need for a sustainable programme. So in collaboration with JET we have developed the yearlong Clean Coasts Project. The Ministry through the TEF has financed it in full to the tune of $34.5 million.
The program was designed to encourage Jamaicans to engage in sustained clean-up activities throughout the year instead of on just one day. It evolved out of the need to encourage positive behaviour change among Jamaicans and our visitors alike.
It has two components: land-based and underwater. The land-based component targets 10 – 15 schools in resort areas and also entails an adult education component. The project was designed to benefit from synergies with JET’s Schools’ Environment Programme (SEP) –which already uses curricula in schools to spread the message of environmental stewardship in tandem with Tourism Action Clubs island-wide.
This morning, I am pleased to launch an integral part of this project- a multi-media public education campaign – with the slogan “Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica” – no ambiguity as to its message!
It is geared at improving knowledge and attitudes with regard to waste and its impact on public health and the environment. The project brings together a number of stakeholders – schools, citizens, government and tourism industry players. I note and endorse fully the decision of JET to incorporate a social media component in this campaign, as by all indications social media is a prime medium by which to engage an ever-growing number of people, particularly in the younger age groups.
Even as we launch this program, let me underscore that at no time are we abdicating the Government’s responsibility to clean up Jamaica. The Ministry through the TEF has given $350 million to the National Solid Waste Management Authority to carry out this function. The funding for all these initiatives come from the Tourism Enhancement Fee, which is paid by each overseas visitor prior to arrival in Jamaica.
I heartily congratulate the TEF and JET as well as its members and volunteers on their enthusiasm, dedication and efficiency. The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and its agencies, are pleased to be the sponsors of this important initiative.
This is citizens’ action at its best. I wish the entire team continued success. You can count on our full blessing and support as together we fight to protect and preserve our environment. It is no exaggeration to say that our very survival depends on it.
Courtesy of eturbonews.com