PNP councillor urges Gov't to invest in non-traditional industriesThursday, July 16, 2020
BY ROSALEE WOOD
LITTLE LONDON, Westmoreland - People's National Party councillor for the Little London Division, Ian Myles, is calling on the Government to invest in non-traditional industries in the wake of the decline in the sugar and tourism sectors.
Myles, who was addressing the regular monthly general meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation last week, noted that the parish is heavily dependent on both sectors.
He argued that sugar is dying and the coronavirus pandemic has “locked down the entire tourism industry”.
“According to Minister [Audley] Shaw [minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries], sugar is dead. We see people claiming sugar lands for housing and other reasons, it's a dying industry,” said Myles.
He noted that in his division, 90 per cent of the residents who rely on the tourism sector for their livelihood have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And in recent years, scores have been without an income because of a decline in sugar production.
Additionally, he said, the resort town of Negril is competing with other tourist destinations, and is fast losing business.
“People are flocking to other destinations…even Ocho Rios is becoming more attractive than Negril. Negril is losing its appeal,” he lamented, as he emphasised the need to create new industries.
“So this is where we need to focus now, on non-traditional industries because traditional forms of employment are not reliable,” Myles argued, as he urged the Government to be proactive.
“We must read the signs. We are playing catch up in terms of our planning. We need to start planning for our generation. I can use the US as an example. I-95 [Interstate 95] has eight lanes and there is still land space for more lanes to be added, if needs be. That is some serious planning. If we intend to be a First World country, we have to plan properly,” he stressed.
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