Withhold your funds from the TEF, Stewart

Sunday, March 19, 2017

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Dear Editor,

I listened in horror and disbelief as the chairman of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) went on the attack over Government’s decision to use part of of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to support the country. The arrogance of the JHTA is beyond belief, and I wonder in whose interest it is advocating. Certainly not the country.

For one, the TEF is awash with money that is not being used at all, but sitting there earning minuscule rates of interest. It would seem to me that if the nation treasury needs help then everyone should lend a hand.

Not only that, but successive administrations have pandered to every whim and fancy of the JHTA to the detriment of sectors like manufacturing. It is full time they start giving something back to this nation. The gluttony has cost us much in other areas, so it’s time to rebalance the scale.

Tourism is no longer the only sector creating impressive growth; agriculture is beating it right now. Yet still agriculture doesn’t have the money it needs. Some of that money from the TEF could be pumped into agriculture. If we are serious about economic growth, it is full time Jamaica moves away from its over-reliance on just tourism.

I was extremely moved to see Gordon "Butch" Stewart coming out in support of the Government’s move. His reasoning makes perfect sense. He understands the need for tourism to give back to a nation that has given to it at a disproportionate level of support over many, many years.

I would further encourage Stewart to withhold his portion of funds going into the TEF and turn that over to the Government if those losers at the JHTA don’t fall in line and stop sabotaging the Government. He is by the far the biggest contributor through his hotel chain to the TEF. If he withholds funding or redirects his funds then the TEF will surely collapse. That’s not in anybody’s interest really, so good sense must prevail.

Tyrone Lewis





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