August Town residents to get ‘Tourist in every backyard’
AS EFFORTS to unite warring factions in the St Andrew Eastern constituency continue to unfold, the citizens’ associations in five communities have embarked on an ambitious ‘Tourist in Every Yard’ project to be rolled out on August 1, 2022.
The annual August celebrations that started in 2015 usually take place in the community of August Town on August 1, in observance of Emancipation Day when August Town got its name and was declared a free village. The celebrations were scaled back this year due to COVID-19 protocols, restricting large gathering.
The ‘Tourists in Every Yard’ project, according to chairman of the August Town Peace Builders, Kenneth Wilson, is aimed at uniting the communities of August Town, Hermitage, African Gardens, Bedward Gardens and Goldsmith Villa around a single project that has cultural and economic benefit.
“Our aim is to put a tourist in every yard in these communities on August 1st, 2022,” disclosed Wilson. “We have extended invitations to all our nationals abroad who are from August Town to come back home next year and celebrate August 1st with us,” he continued, adding that the organisers are getting the support of the diaspora in the venture.
“Our aim is to get every faction to buy into the project, and so far, most importantly, the gangsters are saying that it is a good project and they are willing to support it,” Wilson revealed.
According to him, the Sizzla Foundation is also on board and the entertainer, who lives in the community, will play the part of getting non-nationals to visit the island for the celebrations.
Acknowledging that economic activities are lacking in the communities, Wilson said there will be a reliance on the Community Tourism Economic Development Programme now in the formation stage to stimulate economic activities in the community, with the objective of instilling a productive mindset in the ones who are disrupters of the peace process.
“So we are telling these factions that if this bag of shootings and killings continue, the economic spin-off from this venture will be curtailed because when violence starts, the dollars will run away from the community and nobody will have money, but if we are able to coexist money will come based on the August Town historical persona.”
He added: “So far, through the various platforms, we have been told that the youth them want peace, and we are encouraged by this.”