Ganja used to lure visitors to Jamaica - Tourism Ministry wants post removed

March 31, 2017
This image was posted on the Jamaica Travel Channel's website about a week ago with the caption, 'Come for an irie time, mon! TAG someone!!'
Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism
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The Jamaica Travel Channel (JTC), an alleged affiliate of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), is seemingly using ganja as an attraction to encourage visitors to come to Jamaica for an 'irie' time and get high.

In a social media post on the their Instagram page, a picture with three spliffs and a weed grinder with the word 'Jamaica' carved on it, was captioned, 'Come for an irie time, mon! Tag someone'.

However, when contacted, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett dismissed the idea of an association between JTC and the JTB.

"Who posted that? By who? It's not a JTB portal. I am not aware of any association with the JTB and the JTC," he said.

When THE WEEKEND STAR spoke with the Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook, he said steps were being taken to remove the image from JTB's social media page on which the post was also made.

He explained that some travel influencers were in the island and they made a post that had cannabis in it.

"We have subsequently been making sure that we don't have it showing because it's not a policy of ours to be using ganja or weed to invite people to Jamaica. No, that's not policy at all."

When THE WEEKEND STAR contacted the Jamaica Travel Channel and asked to speak with someone from the company's management team, a personnel, who refused to give his name, said it was the first time the post was brought to his attention.

He also questioned if the issue was newsworthy.

"You don't have another story to write. I don't find it a very interesting story," he said.

When asked if JTC was associated with the JTB, he said, "We are all aligned. We are all Jamaicans but we are a private entity."

 

RELUCTANCE TO SPEAK

 

Despite his partial reluctance to speak, the representative said that ganja was not being used as a strategy to lure visitors.

"Social media for the JTC is handled by an individual. I don't know that it is a strategy of the JTC to bring people to Jamaica by advertising ganja. I think it is an isolated post," he said.

"We are just a private entity. I don't know what the views of nobody else is. It's not that serious. The person who handles social media probably just put it up. There is no strategy behind it at all. They post several posts a day."

Marijuana has been decriminalised in Jamaica since 2015.

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