Samuda cites need for greater investment in coastal protection Loop Jamaica

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Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda, has highlighted the need for greater investment in coastal protection to prevent further erosion of the island’s beaches.

Samuda was addressing the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Inaugural Climate Resilience Symposium at Iberostar Rose Hall Resort in St James on March 22.

“We will have to invest heavily in our coastal protection. It means breakwater in places like Negril, and it means significant investment in groynes in the protection of our beaches. So, though we are an island with several beautiful world-famous beaches, these are the realities which we will have to take on,” he said.

Samuda stated that the island is not the only one having these coastal issues, as other popular tourism destinations are facing similar challenges.

He noted, however, that while Jamaica’s climate change challenges are not unique, “it does not mean that we don’t have unique opportunities to adapt to make sure that we build on the resilience that we absolutely need.”

Some members of the audience at the symposium.

In continuing, he said: “Because climate change is here, the climate is changing, it is changing faster than the original projections and bringing thought leaders to make sure that we strategise, build in the sort of plans and investment strategies and bankable strategies that protect the industry. It is incredibly important.”

He declared that, “We are not out of time, but I think it’s a perfect time to have the conversation, because we do have to work around the clock to ensure that the resilience needed for this industry (tourism), this critical pillar of the Jamaican economy, is built in and is put front and centre with the economic decisions that we make.”

Samuda further highlighted that there is more to be done in the services sector to ensure that the island takes a moral and practical position to reduce its emissions.

For his part, Acting Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson, underscored the importance of the tourism sector building resilience in the region in order to continue to grow and prosper.

The symposium, hosted in partnership with ODPEM, was aimed at developing mechanisms to protect the environment. It was held under the theme ‘Strengthening emergency readiness in Jamaica’s tourism sector’.