Raft captains in Portland to get help
Bothered by the plight facing raft captains assigned to the Rio Grande Rafting, Portland's premier tourist attraction, Tourism Minister Edmond Bartlett is set to visit Berrydale on Monday to meet with the disaster ravaged group.
Bartlett, who will be accompanied by high-profile member of parliament Daryl Vaz, will, among other things, offer support to the raft captains and help them with financial assistance.
"We will be in Berrydale on Monday to hand out 75 cheques to the raft captains who were affected," Bartlett said.
"Rio Grande Rafting is a viable tourism product and it is also Jamaica's oldest attraction. This is a priority and it will be treated as an emergency. As it relates to tourism, any eventuality under my watch will be given emergency attention. God has given us a second chance, and this time around, we (the Jamaica Labour Party) will be honouring every single commitment made to the Jamaican people."
The Tourism Minister, who spoke to THE STAR via telephone yesterday, pointed out that the visit will not be all about handing out money to the raft captains, but also to ensure that rehabilitation work to the terminal building and other aspects of rafting commence and will be completed in the shortest possible time.
"These facilities are important to Jamaica's long and distinguished involvement in tourism. It is my intention to ensure that from now on raft captains are able to operate in a more attractive and friendlier environment, which will present to them a sense of pride, worth, and appreciation. Despite the importance of being in Parliament, I will be journeying to Portland to address the plights of the 75 raft captains," he told THE STAR.
Last week, during four days of heavy rainfall, approximately 120 rafting vessels, which were docked along the beach area of the Rio Grande and along the lawns of the nearby terminal building, were washed away.