Sun | Jan 19, 2020

Price tag cut on iconic MoBay welcome sign

Published:Monday | December 16, 2019 | 12:31 AM
The Montego Bay welcome sign in St James.
The Montego Bay welcome sign in St James.


Public and political pressure has forced the Ministry of Tourism to reduce the $17-million price tag it had announced a year ago to construct Montego Bay’s iconic welcome sign at the Sangster International Airport roundabout to $14.7 million.

“The taxpayers of Jamaica spent $9.7 million and the private sector put $5 million and we have a facility that came out at $14.7 million,” Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said as he launched the official start of the 2019-2020 winter tourist season.

The construction of the welcome sign was announced by Bartlett in November last year.

Bartlett used Saturday’s launch to unveil a plaque in recognition of the contributions made toward building the sign by members of the private sector.

“What a scandal that is,” quipped Bartlett in a direct swipe at the Opposition People’s National Party, which, along with other members of the public, decried the cost of the sign as exorbitant.

“Isn’t that a powerful scandal? Bartlett questioned. If that’s what scandals are made of, give us some more because that is what we joy ourselves in ... making sure that the good we do, if evil is spoken of it, we smile because it’s biblical and we continue only to do our good,” he said.

The Montego Bay sign at the Sangster International Airport’s entrance and exit is a project of the Tourism Product Development Company and is sponsored in part by the Tourism Enhancement Fund.