J$700m cash injection for Falmouth's Hampden Wharf
The old Hampden Wharf Building in Falmouth, Trelawny, is to be upgraded to the tune of $700 million as part of the plan to transform the facility into the long-promised Artisan Village, which is expected to served as one of the premier platforms to support the town's tourism product.
According to Mervis Edghill, vice-president of engineering at the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), work has commenced on the project, which is earmarked to be completed within 12 months.
"Work has begun to construct the Artisan Village, which we expect to be completed within a year," said Edghill. "The PAJ will be working alongside The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) to ensure the integrity of the building, which is a national monument, is maintained."
Carol Rose Brown, the project coordinator at TPDCo, told The Gleaner that the idea behind the construction of the Artisan Village is to increase visitor spending in the town, which is the nation's cruise-shipping hub.
"We are the lowest in the region (Caribbean) when it comes to the amount of money our visitors spend. The village will offer a different kind of experience for the visitors, especially our cruise ship passengers," said Rose Brown.
Rose Brown further explained that the village will feature a mixture of old and new items, highlighting various aspects of Jamaican heritage.
"It will be themed to enhance the Jamaican culture from the production of sugar, the making of pottery, to leather goods and photographs. Visitors will be afforded an opportunity to connect with the Jamaican culture," said Rose Brown.
Another dimension to local cruise shipping experience being added
Michael Belnavis, the national president of cruise shipping, has welcomed the construction of the Artisan Village, at the old Hampden Wharf Building in Falmouth, Trelawny, saying that it will add another dimension to the local cruise shipping experience.
"Shoppers will be given an opportunity to shop for unique Jamaican products. People will be trained to express our culture through indigenous products," said Belnavis. They (the visitors) will be part of the experience by seeing how the products are made, including pottery. The visitor experience will be greatly enhanced."
Victor Wright, the member of parliament for North Trelawny, also welcomed the initiative, saying it will bring much benefit to his constituents.
"There will be lots of benefits ... . More people will be employed, more people will acquire skills from which gainful employment is garnered. When more visitors enjoy the experience, they will spread the word, thereby improving our visitor count, which can only be positive," said Wright.