Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Falmouth’s mayor eyeing employment options to fight crime

Published:Thursday | November 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer
Mayor of Falmouth Collin Gager.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Cognisant of the kind of damage that crime could do to the image of Falmouth, the hub of the nation's cruise shipping, the mayor of the Trelawny parish capital, Councillor Colin Gager, is hopeful that a number of upcoming projects will create more employment options for residents.

"We have a number of upcoming projects in the pipeline, and I am hoping that it will help to create more employment opportunities for the people," said Gager. "We are hoping to use the opportunity for gainful employment to pull people away from crime."

Falmouth, which is renowned for its Georgian charm, is steadily becoming a hotbed of crime, with several murders within recent months. Some stakeholders have been expressing fear that the crime scourge could negatively impact its image as a tourist destination.

NO EFFECTS YET

Gager said that while the violence is unacceptable and must be addressed, he is thankful that to date, it has not affected the cruise shipping sector, which is the lifeblood of the town's economy.

"Luckily for us, most of the recent killings took place either at nights or at times when we have no ships in the port. No tourist has witnessed any of these incidents first-hand," said Gager.

"I know that there is always social media, but so far, and luckily for us, we have not seen where these recent murders have been creating any sort of negative impact on the flow of cruise shipping passengers or any other tourists."

Among the projects, Gager said, would be coming on stream are the renovation of the Albert George Market, the expansion of the Falmouth Pier, the creation of an artisan village, and the construction of new hotels.

"We are very serious about creating a much safer environment because that is the way we are going to curb the upsurge in crime," continued Gager. "We can't just be waiting and hoping that it will go away. We have to do something about it."

Over the past two months, Falmouth has had six murders, including a sex worker, a popular businesswoman, and a taxi operator.