The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) in collaboration with the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, and the Spanish Embassy launched the Heritage Trails of Jamaica project at the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann on Friday, April 4, 2008 with the unveiling of the first signboard.

Acknowledging Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage, Spanish Ambassador Jesus Silva noted that the project is, “not so much about Spanish history [but instead] about Jamaica and Jamaica’s Heritage.” He pointed out that the signboards are “a way of offering new activities for tourism.”

Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Olivia Grange pledged the support of her ministry noting that the project signified the kind of work necessary to enhance the tourism product. “I welcome this addition that uses heritage and culture to expand the tourism platform,” Minister Grange said.

The minister noted that “the idea of a heritage trail provides us as well as our visitors with opportunities to revisit or discover the various paths taken in our development. It allows for the discovery of ancestral pride as well as for the negotiation of the process that can lead to reconnections to the past.”

She also expressed the view that “it is our culture that draws persons to our shores and determines their desire to return.”

Executive Director of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Mrs. Laleta Davis-Mattis in her remarks noted that “Heritage and culture form the core of who we are.” She went on to explain that the JNHT was excited to be part of the heritage trail project as the organization could use the opportunity to “educate more persons about Jamaica’s history and the experiences that helped to shape our nation. At the same time we would be helping them to understand the role that heritage preservation plays in developing the nation.” She later appealed for private investors to partner with the JNHT to develop more projects for the benefit of the Jamaican people.

The Heritage Trails project will see a series of storyboards being erected at various historically significant sites across the island. The first set will constitute the Spanish Trail and includes signs at New Seville, Rio Bueno, Rio Nuevo, Spanish Town, among others. They will be linked to form a trail and complemented by a Jamaican Heritage map as well as accompanying brochures which document Jamaica’s various historical sites.

Columbus Preparatory School in St. Ann delivered a musical treat in Spanish thereby adding authentic Spanish flair to the festivities. A cocktail reception and lunch followed at the beautiful Grand Bahia Principe Hotel, which was one of the sponsors of the project.

Among those in attendance were Minister Olivia Grange, Spanish Ambassador Jesus Silva, JNHT Executive Director Mrs. Laleta Davis-Mattis, former Minister of Tourism Aloun Assamba, Mayor Ivan Anderson and Member of Parliament Shaine Robinson.

Executive Director of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Laleta Davis-Mattis (left) poses with advisor in the Ministry of Tourism Zachary Harding, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Olivia Grange (centre), General Manager of the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel Mr. Daniel Ferra and Spanish Ambassador Jesus Silva at the unveiling of the first storyboard in the Heritage Trails of Jamaica project at Seville Heritage Park, St. Ann. The project is being implemented by the Spanish Jamaican Foundation, the Spanish Embassy and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

For further information contact:
Andrea Braham
Communications Division, JNHT