What about Portland? PNP candidate demands answers from Bartlett Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

People’s National Party (PNP) candidate for East Portland, Colin ‘Shaka Fame’ Bell, is calling on Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, to reveal any plans he has for the development of tourism in the north eastern parish.

Bell, who is the PNP’s deputy spokesman on culture and the creative industry, said after listening to Bartlett during the opening of the 2024/25 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, he was disappointed that nothing was mentioned of Portland.

“I listened to the minister of tourism speak, and (he) never mentioned anything about Portland. With all the boom in the tourism sector, East Portland not seeing or feeling any of it,” said Bell.

The founder of the Boston Jerk Festival is calling for Portland to get more attention in terms of tourism, as its potential for growth is widely known.

“Remember East Portland is the birthplace of cruise shipping in Jamaica. The first cruise ship tourists come off a boat in Port Antonio, and we’re not getting any of the pie now. Well, we are calling for our piece of the pie in the tourism industry,” declared Bell.

Edmund Bartlett (file photo)

Bartlett in delivering his Sectoral Debate speech highlighted that the Government will be allocating half a billion dollars towards housing for tourism workers living in “substandard conditions”.

He said, under this new intervention for tourism workers living in substandard conditions, 100 houses are to be provided for them this financial year.

Bartlett said that as of April 19, 2024, the Tourism Workers Pension Scheme (TWPS), which was launched in January 2022, has 9,497 registered tourism workers as members, with savings of $1.2 billion.

He also noted that investment in Jamaica’s tourism industry has soared to new heights, with existing hotel companies expanding their stake, while new investors are in line to build new properties.

Bartlett said 2,000 new rooms are to be completed this year, and significant strides are being made towards the target of adding 20,000 hotel rooms within the next 10 to 15 years.

During the debate, Bartlett named Montego Bay, Hanover, Negril, Westmoreland, St Ann and Trelawny as being the areas where significant investments are being made in tourism.