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The minister did not abuse his powers

CORRESPONDENT
Khama
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism (MENT) would like to respond to comments in the article titled “Next VP TK abusing his powers” in Mmegi of May 26, 2017.

The article alleges that the Minister had delayed and also tried to block the licensing of Travel Lodge in Kasane. Tourism facilities licensing is one of the functions of MENT. The Ministry does this in accordance with standards set in place.

If the Ministry considers any tourism development to be below minimum licensing requirements and non-compliant, it will not be licensed until corrective action has been taken.

It is the Ministry’s duties to do so, without fear or favour so that good standards can be maintained in our tourism industry.

Travel Lodge developers had requested for the licensing of their hotel in Kasane and had submitted the application as is the procedure. During evaluation it was found that some of the components of their development did not meet Health and Tourism requirements. These included one toilet for staff, and two toilets each for the public.

Therefore, the Travel Lodge management was to carry out the required corrections to males and females for the 250-people conference venue. They were advised to do the

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necessary improvements to bring the facility up to standard.

The onus was to ensure compliance to standards within time, as it seemed they wanted to operate as soon as possible.

It is therefore wrong to put the blame for the delay in licensing on the Minister, who does not even sit in the Tourism Licensing Committee, which had rejected the licence in the first place. In addition, it is not true that the Minister warned the Committee not to issue the licence.

As a country we are continuously improving and increasing standards. We would therefore not accept anything that would jeopardise the business and public health. The Ministry will like to encourage developers to comply with standards and endeavour to meet requirements because the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism will not accept below standard submissions.

The Ministry remains willing to answer questions and clarify on issues that pertain to its operations as long as issues of environment or wildlife security are not compromised.

Rule Jimmy Opelo,

Permanent Secretary



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