In October 2018, the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) assisted in the launch of an innovative initiative by Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn. As the Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Cuthbert-Flynn felt the need for the usually cool and quiet community to be cleaner and environmentally sound for its residents.
With this goal in mind, she challenged primary level students, all of whom represent the future of Jamaica, to turn their “Trash to Treasure”. This new project would see students collecting trash and turning them into usable and even wearable items. Her overall objective was to teach residents and students to keep their community in pristine condition, thereby reducing the effects of littering. Seventeen primary schools participated for a chance to win prizes and lend their hands at a project that could potentially change their lives.
Cuthbert-Flynn, like all 63 Members of Parliament across the island received three million dollars in funding under the Spruce Up programme; which is administered by TPDCo. The funding should be used to implement a project that is intended to contribute to the development of local communities and the tourism sector.
Cuthbert –Flynn cited that her main reason for choosing a project of that nature is simply put-her passion for the environment.
“This initiative was necessary due to the growing concerns of climate change and its impact on the environment. Our planet continues to see the implications of climate change, such as hotter temperatures, flooding and an increase in hurricanes. Climate Change is also a threat to economic growth and sustainability, particularly for vulnerable countries such as our own.” She said.
Advocating for a cleaner and greener space, Cuthbert-Flynn was actively involved in the selection process and ventured to the schools with the continued support of Programme Director, Stephen Newland and representatives from the Product Development and Community Tourism Unit at TPDCo.
At the prize-giving ceremony on June 10, 2019, Unity Primary walked away with exciting prizes for the school. The winning school collected a total of 12, 500 bottles and was awarded nearly $100,000 dollars, 5 desktop computers, a tablet for the best essay and a trip for 2 teachers to Miami, Florida.
This advocacy for a green environment fits into TPDCo’s move to highlight community tourism for those visitors who prefer to experience the culture by visiting and staying in communities. By cleaning up the space, more guests will feel inclined to learn about Jamaica by submerging themselves in the local communities.