Cash splash on Devon House
Taxpayers are being called upon to provide $30 million to offset the operations of Devon House Company Limited in the 2015/2016 fiscal year despite the entity projecting to make $91.1 million in gross profit by end of March.
The allocation, which is provided for in the 2015/2016 Estimates of Expenditure is below the $33.7 million granted this fiscal year.
Devon House is a heritage site and one of Jamaica's leading national monuments. It is situated on an 11-acre property with lush, sprawling lawns and was built by Jamaica's first black millionaire, George Stiebel, in the 19th century.
Based on its data on its operational performance submitted to a parliamentary committee, the general cost for administration and employee services is budgeted at $50.8 million. Its total costs were budgeted at $90.8 million for the year.
In the meantime, grants to Milk River Bath are being reduced from $11.8 million to $10.7 million this year.
Milk River Hotel and Spa is located in Clarendon and offers accommodation, swimming and diving facilities. As of November 30, 2014, the facility had seen overall revenue of $17.8 million, a 34 per cent increase over the same period in 2013.
Another local attraction, Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa has been allocated $10.8 million to help offset the general expenses of its operation.
The Bath facility, located in St Thomas, offers accommodation, dining and spa facilities to both local and foreign guests.
The tourism ministry has indicated its intent to initiate a transformation and revitalisation programme which would not only make the area a prime stop for health and wellness tourism, but will ensure it ceases being a burden to taxpayers by the 2016/2017 fiscal year.