Wykeham McNeill, a physician and long-standing parliamentarian, has been appointed as the new minister of tourism and entertainment in Jamaica.
The move follows the election of prime minister Portia Simpson-Miller, leader of the People’s National Party on December 29th.
McNeill is no stranger to the tourism portfolio, having served the industry for many years.
In 2000, he was appointed minister of state in the ministry of tourism and sports, and two years later assigned oversight responsibility for tourism operations, including cruise shipping and tourism development.
In 2007, when the Ms Simpson-Miller was first appointed prime minister, he was again called to serve as state minister in the then ministry of tourism, entertainment and culture, under the leadership of Aloun Assamba.
During the Jamaica Labour Party led administration, McNeill continued his tourism career as opposition spokesman for tourism and entertainment.
He has also served as the chairman of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee and as opposition spokesman on the Jamaican Diaspora.
McNeill assumes the position as minister of tourism and entertainment in Jamaica at a time when the island is experiencing growth in the sector.
He has begun discussions with senior officials in the ministry and several of its key agencies to prepare for future initiatives under the new government.
According to McNeill the merging of tourism and entertainment will be beneficial for both divisions.
“There are exciting days ahead for this ministry and I look forward to the support of all members of staff as we strive to make both sectors successful,” said McNeill following his appointment.
“With the addition of the entertainment portfolio, the ministry will be expanded; however, this is very good as the synergies between tourism and entertainment are strong and potentially profitable.”
Jamaica has seen its world-leading tourism industry recognised recently, with the prestigious World Travel Awards selecting the destination as Caribbean’s Leading Destination.