Updated – Saudi Prince Removed From Board Of Jamaica’s Global Centre For Tourism

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Head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (Photo credit: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 19, 2018: Hours after News Americas published a story reporting that a Prince from the House of Saud was this week named to the board of Jamaica’s newly launched Global Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management as criticism of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman mounts around the world, following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, NAN was this morning sent an email that the Prince was removed from the Board.

Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, a member of the House of Saud, who since 2009, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, was initially named as a board member in a press statement issued earlier this week.

The release was issued on Weds. Oct. 17th and NAN ran the story on the evening of Oct. 18th. In the Oct. 17th release, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz was the first name listed under: “Other Board members of the Centre include:”

But on Friday morning, NAN was  told the Saudi Prince had been removed from the Board and the search is now underway for a replacement.

Hours later we were told that the information provided this morning “was erroneous and the release premature.”

The communication also said the Prince was only “in discussion with the Centre to lend his support” and “that wasn’t confirmed,” hence the walk-back.

All of this comes as pressure mounts on the Donald Trump administration to take a firm stance with Saudi Arabia and MBS to get to the bottom of the disappearance of the Washington Post columnist. Trump said he expects to consult Congress over what to do in light of the apparent death of Khashoggi and has insisted he wants to wait until the Saudi and Turkish investigations are complete.

Meanwhile, the BBC has uncovered new details about one of the men accused of murdering Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist who was critical of his country’s government.

Turkish media identified Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb as being part of a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance from the city’s Saudi consulate on October 2nd.

This came as Turkish officials told CNN they suspected within hours of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance that he had likely been killed and raced to Istanbul airport to intercept a private Saudi plane that was waiting to take off.

RELATED: As Khashoggi Disappearance Dogs House Of Saud, A Saudi Prince Is Named To Jamaica’s Global Centre For Tourism

The Center is dubbed as “a first-of-its-kind resource” in the Caribbean and will be based at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

Prince Sultan was born in Riyadh in 1956 and is the second son of King Salman. He is a former Royal Saudi Air Force pilot who flew aboard the American STS-51-G Space Shuttle mission as a payload specialist, and a member of the House of Saud.

Prince Sultan is the first member of a royal family to be an astronaut, and the first Arab and Muslim to fly in space.

The Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management is being led by Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett. Its mission is to carry out policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally.

Meanwhile, Dr. Taleb Rifai, former Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), has been named as Chairman of the Board of the Center. Other board members include:

Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Asia Travel Association, (PATA);
Brett Holman, Chief Executive Officer, The Travel Corporation;
Lee Miles, Professor of Crisis and Disaster Management, University of Bournemouth, United Kingdom;
Ambassador Dho Young-shim, Chairman, UNWTO Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty Initiative, (ST-EP);
Ryoichi Matsuyama, President, Japan National Tourism Organization;
Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies;
Earl Jarret, Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica National Group.
Several universities have also agreed to partner on engagements involving the Centre including Bournemouth University – United Kingdom; Queensland University – Australia; Hong Kong Polytechnic and the George Washington University – US.

The Centre will be formally launched during the Caribbean Marketplace Expo in Montego Bay, from January 29-31, 2019.