As millions around the world commemorate the birthday of reggae legend Bob Marley, who was born on February 6, 1945, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has underscored that there is a crucial initiative underway to enhance the cultural assets of Trench Town, where Marley and several other outstanding Jamaican entertainers lived and honed their musical skills.
This as Minister McNeill; State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Damion Crawford; Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Angella Brown-Burke, toured Trench Town along with representatives of the Kingston Metropolitan Resort Board and officials from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).
The tour, which was spearheaded by the Jamaica Music Institute, JaMIN, provided a first-hand view of the latest initiatives to enhance linkages between community tourism, entertainment and our cultural heritage. Minister McNeill said “as we toured Trench Town today it only emphasized the marvelous cultural treasure we have. There is so much more we have to offer as we seek to market Kingston even better. We are examining ways to develop sections of the community to offer a more formal and well packaged tour for Jamaicans and visitors alike.”
He noted that “a lot of our own Jamaicans especially our children do not have a chance to see and enjoy this in order to get a true appreciation of the history behind our music and our musical icons like Bob Marley. Once we improve these sites we have to market them more effectively to not only visitors but the students island-wide.” The Minister added that “we will be examining ways in which we can work with the Ministry of Education to ensure that there is a structured programme implemented to guarantee that more students from across the island get a chance to see these important sites that have made us truly unique as Jamaicans.”
The project in Trench Town forms part of the Ministry’s drive to develop cultural heritage sites across the island, to further enhance our tourism product, through funding from the TEF. The Minister explained that “the improvement work being done on The Culture Yard and Boys Town is ongoing. Both Central Government and Local Government as well as other partners all have a role to play in preserving these historical sites and to showcase them to the world.” He outlined that “renovation work at The Culture Yard is proceeding well and we are in discussions about some of the aspects that can be upgraded to make it even better. We are working along with the Kingston Metropolitan Resort Board to do just that.”
State Minister Crawford expressed that “I am heartened at the progress of this project as it is crucial for us to improve and safeguard these historical sites as they will play a crucial role in our ongoing efforts to position Kingston as the cultural capital of the Caribbean and to attract visitors under our ‘Reggae Month…Its Kingston for February’ initiative.”