$17-MILLION 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign blasted

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Residents of Montego Bay in St. James have joined the growing chorus of persons and entities which have cried out that a $17 million price tag to erect a new welcome sign for the city is a waste of taxpayers' money.

"Is a waste a money that and no sign nuh cost so much money...so me no know how eh money suh big," a resident said and that is the sentiment being echoed over and over again.

Another resident suggested that the sign should be constructed at a lower rate.

"I would not say the sign is not important because of course the sign would be advertising our country, especially to the tourists that will enter our shores. However, I think that there are more important things to be done with so much money. For example, we have a lot of bad roads in Jamaica and so I think that's waste of taxpayers' money and I think the minister need to revisit that decision," he insisted.

The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has provided a breakdown of the $17 million to be spent on creating the new 'Welcome to Montego Bay' sign.

In a statement Tuesday, TPDCo said the St. James Municipal Corporation has been contracted to build it. The agency disclosed that the sign will be illuminated. The area will also be landscaped and there will be an irrigation system. TPDCo explained that $8 million will be spent on creating a dual base facing the east and west, $3 million on lettering, $2 million on electrical work, $1 million on irrigation and $3 million for contigencies.

TPDCo said it consulted with engineers from the National Works Agency (NWA) on the design to ensure the safety of road users.

Additionally, road signs are being replaced as well as other safety features including the installation of speed strips and the repainting of road markings.