Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Falmouth in five - A gem crying out for attention

Published:Wednesday | July 20, 2016 | 7:16 AM
Drains under construction at Seaboard Street in Falmouth.
Tour bus drivers await visitors as they enter Falmouth town from the pier.
The only shelter at the transport centre in Falmouth.
A gully adjacent to the tranport centre.
Vendors display their goods at Bend-Down Market.
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The Gleaner's Paul Clarke recently walked through Falmouth for a first-hand view of the state of the town.

Western Bureau:

At first, I thought a walk through Falmouth, a town steeped in Georgian history, would be all pleasure. However, while I must agree that the town is a gem in many ways, it was also clear that there are many signs of structural decay.

Also, the potential for the much-touted exponential growth, which should have accompanied the construction of the town's cruise ship pier, could be seen even with the unstructured 'Bend Down Market' (street side vending) lingering in the background.

I noticed that, while cruise ship visitors are greeted with well-manicured lawns and beautiful buildings inside the pier when they disembark their ships, outside the gate, the picture changes dramatically with a series of shacks, topped-off with blue tarpaulins.

As a Jamaican, I found the situation at the pier's gate rather unpleasant, if not a blatant eyesore.

In fact, it basically left me to wonder, "How do the cruise passengers feel after being confronted with such a sight?".

I also found the sight of tour bus drivers 'camping out' at the gates of the pier laying in wait for the passengers rather tacky and seemingly demanding professional attention.

As I continued my walk, the situation got worse. I quickly realised why reports have surfaced of tourists complaining about the town being smelly as I was hit with the obnoxious stench in some sections of the town.

It should be noted that, except for one public toilet located adjacent to the historic Water Square, which reeked of stale urine, the town is without public sanitary facilities.

 

Another eyesore

 

The shabby dirt-filled space the town uses as its bus/taxi park is yet another eyesore. It begs the question, "What has become of the 2012 promise by the Trelawny Parish Council to construct a multimillion-dollar transportation centre in the town?"

In fact, instead of a modern state-of-the-art transportation centre, what greeted my eyes was dirt ... no landscaping, just drains filled with green algae, unsightly grease-covered plastic bottles and 'scandal bags'.

As I walked along Market and Seaboard streets, which are located in the heart of the town, I was shocked. Both sides of Seaboard Street were under construction, and while I understand the need for the new drains, in Jamaican parlance, it looked "chaka, chaka" with very little evidence of planning.

I could not help thinking, "Man, a local or even a tourist could fall into one of these drains and really get hurt".

"Sir, you see how these trenches left open? Is danger this. Nuh tourist naah come near here. Dem rather stay on the pier," a woman, who saw me surveying the drains, explained.

Interestingly, she was quite right as, throughout my walk in that section of the town, I did not see a single tourist, though I had seen one visitor at the Bend Down Market.

I found the Bend Down Market quite interesting ... containing deals galore. There were items such as Michael Kors watches (knock-offs, of course) for the 'rich' and just about every item a regular shopper would require.

It was easy to understand its popularity.

As I concluded my walk through the town, which still has many of its treasured Georgian buildings intact, it dawned on me that, if the elected and business leaders ever decide to take pride in Falmouth and fix its many ills, this town could become a sparkling gem for locals and visitors alike.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com