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End-of-month timeline for $17m MoBay welcome sign

Published:Wednesday | January 16, 2019 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer

The controversial $17 million 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign is expected to be completed by the end of January, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

The sign generated widespread criticism as persons were of the opinion that it was too expensive.

Bartlett, however, defended the cost at a press conference yesterday, noting that sometimes value came at a cost.

"The landscaping is almost complete. They are putting in the water-irrigation system, and they will probably add other features, which will make it a very exciting experience. It's not a sign. It is an experience, and that is what tourism is about," the minister stated.

"We always say that we have to do things that set us apart. That's why people come here. They don't come to see the same thing they see everywhere. They come to experience something else. I think we need to get beyond ourselves in these matters, too, because iconic activities are not born out of cheap."


'Politics too intense'


Bartlett added: "Iconic things can also come from minimal expenses. But I think we must concern ourselves primarily with adding value to the process, and sometimes the politics is too intense, and we don't see the difference."

He said, too, that Jamaicans stand to benefit from the value that is expected to be accrued from the sign.

The construction of the new sign is to replace the previous 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign, which was destroyed in March 2018 by a vehicle that got out of control and crashed into it.