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The capacity of local health officials to treat divers with complications such as decompression illness has received a major boost with the commissioning of a new Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) sponsored Hyperbaric Chamber. The chamber, which has been installed at the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, St. Ann, was acquired through the collaborative effort of the TEF and the University of the West Indies, UWI.
The chamber was officially commissioned on March 13, 2013 at a ceremony organized by the UWI Centre for Marine Sciences which administers the Marine Laboratory. In September 2010, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the UWI partnered to replace the Hyperbaric Chamber at the Discovery Bay facility. TEF contributed 30% of the funds required to purchase the chamber as the latest move in its ongoing initiative to fund projects that seek to promote and maintain the continued development of the tourism sector.
Speaking at the ceremony Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said “the Ministry is delighted to be a partner in this acquisition, through the initiative of the Tourism Enhancement Fund to provide part funding for the purchase of this essential piece of equipment.” This was made possible through grant funding by TEF of €100,000 which was extended to the UWI Centre for Marine Sciences to facilitate the design, construction, acquisition and commissioning of a new, first-world rated hyperbaric treatment facility.
Dr. McNeill emphasized that “the chamber is a substantial investment in our drive towards promoting dive tourism. The TEF will continue to partner in supporting programmes and projects such as this new hyperbaric facility as we look to expand our tourism product offering and diversify our markets.”
Executive Director of the TEF, Clyde Harrison said “I am particularly pleased in knowing that the TEF has been able to contribute to the installation and commissioning of this well needed hyperbaric chamber. We are confident that this new chamber will make destination Jamaica even more appealing to divers.”
In thanking the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and the TEF for the contribution, Principal of UWI Mona, Professor Gordon Shirley outlined that “after the previous chamber fell into disrepair it became clear that it would have to be replaced speedily as persons frequently turned up with diving complications and needed treatment. Hence UWI is pleased to be associated with the acquisition of this Hyperbaric Chamber.”