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KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 29, 2014: As growth continues in the tourism sector, resulting in more and more beach space being taken up by hotel construction, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment has embarked on a programme to saferguard at least one major beach in each parish for locals.
The initiative is being undertaken by the Ministry in collaboration with Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA).
Outlining that the aim was to ensure that Jamaicans were able to enjoy their patrimony through access to beaches, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill said in his Sectoral Presentation to Parliament yesterday, “it is an imperative that suitable quality space for recreation must be made available for Jamaicans.”
Selected beaches will be transformed into sea parks to make quality recreational spaces available to residents and visitors alike.
Dr. McNeill said those beaches will operate at the best international standards. Each will provide the basic facilities of children's play area, seating with tables, picnic area and gazebos, restrooms and changing room facilities.
There will also be adequate parking, lifeguard towers and utilities.
The first six beaches under the programme will be improved in the current financial year (2014/2015) with an expenditure of approximately $252 million.
Minister McNeill told the House that work was already underway on some of these sea parks with Burwood Beach in Trelawny being the most advanced.
Providence Beach Park in Montego Bay is at the tendering stage and design work is being completed on the Norman Manley Beach Park in Negril.
He said Great Bay at Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, Salem in St. Ann and Boston in Portland have been identified for similar upgrading.
The Ministry of Tourism and Entertianment will be working with NEPA and TPDCo to identify and secure leases for additional beaches.