Wed | Jun 28, 2017

Handcarts rescued cruise ship passengers in flooded Falmouth

Published:Friday | March 17, 2017 | 3:00 AMLeon Jackson
Cruise ship passengers from the ‘Liberty of The Seas’ cruise vessel enjoying a handcart ride across flooded roads in Falmouth, Trelawny, yesterday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Some cruise ship passengers who got caught in the heavy rains that lashed Falmouth, Trelawny, yesterday, flooding several roads, got a novel taste of what it is like to be transported Jamaican handcart-style.

The handcart operators, who are well known for their ability to spot business opportunities, realised that Gate Three at the Falmouth Pier was partially flooded, and with a cruise ship in the harbour, and turned up with their carts to provide transportation, at a cost, across the flooded area.

Delighted to have what was probably a unique Jamaican experience, some of the cruise ship passengers, who came into Falmouth via the Liberty of The Seas cruise vessel, decided to pay the J$100 to ride in style on the handcarts, which are generally used to transport market provisions and to sell coconuts.

As other cart operators became aware of what was unfolding, they, too, got in on the action, ensuring that all the visitors who wanted to get into the town of Falmouth got the opportunity to do so.

ENJOYED THE EXPERIENCE

Based on the reaction from the visitors, who took on the challenge of riding on the handcarts, they clearly enjoyed the experience.

"Oh, I enjoyed this trip! It started a little scary, but now that have I crossed, I can look back and enjoy the experience," one visitor told The Gleaner.

Mark Hylton of the Port Authority of Jamaica said that the flooding at the entrance to the pier was caused by a combination of factors.

"When the tide is high, the water in the drains doesn't run freely. We have placed meshing at strategic positions to capture garbage that gathers from time to time or is thrown into the drains," said Hylton. "With the rains, excess water fills up the drains, causing the flooding."

Hylton said that when he became aware of the situation, he called for help within his organisation as well as the municipal corporation to clear the drains as quickly as possible so that the cruise ship passengers could get to go into the town of Falmouth.