Mon | Apr 24, 2017

People's Report: Boston Jerk Centre a disgrace

Published:Saturday | April 18, 2015 | 4:00 AM

My family and I recently went on a road trip to the beautiful parish of Portland. This was something we wanted to do for years, and this Easter weekend presented the perfect opportunity with good weather, warm sunshine and four days to explore and enjoy a parish that has been paradise to so many for so long.

Among the places on our list to visit were the Folly Great House, The Errol Flynn Marina, The Blue Lagoon, Frenchman's Cove and Boston Jerk Centre. With each stop, we were left in awe at the natural beauty of these sites and the warmth of our own Jamaican people.

My family was really enjoying the trip (and getting hungry), so about 1:30 p.m., we set our sights on the community of Boston for their world-renowned jerk pork and chicken.

Our joy and anticipation turned to shock and disappointment when we stopped at the area said to be Boston Jerk Centre. I just could not believe I was at the right place. I was expecting to see a venue with modern infrastructure and amenities, as seen at other less-popular jerk places like Scotchies in Kingston and Fireside in Clarendon. By this I mean adequate parking with reasonable seating for eating and socialising, as well as clean, functioning restrooms for patrons.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by persons trying to solicit our business by attempting to usher us into their stalls along the narrow stretch. We refused to be coerced and walked from stall to stall hoping to find somewhere appealing that my family could sit and eat in relative comfort. That was not to be, so having purchased from one of the stalls close to the main road, we were pointed to a bar across the street where we purchased refreshments and competed for one of the few stools and the one table that was there.

We had to wait a while for the table to be available, and when it was, we sat and ate while watching the spectacle unfolded as vehicles jostled for parking on the now-busy main road while men, women and children dodged between vehicles as they attempted to cross the busy thoroughfare.

SPONSORS

This kind of arrangement is an accident waiting to happen. How can this facility be advertised as one of the must-visit sites in Portland by both tourists and locals and still no thought has been given to their safety and comfort?

I'm sure the present situation existed from the inception, but could now present a glorious opportunity for a sponsor or sponsors to come on board and help to rectify the problems that now exist.

Here are some suggestions:

1. A better location should be identified that can facilitate proper parking.

2. One big covered area should be built to house individual stalls (similar to a food court on a plaza).

3. Stalls should be rented to persons wishing to do business.

4. One common seating area should be provided and is to be equipped with proper seating and tables for the comfort of customers.

5. At least four restrooms should be made available for customers.

6. A management team should be put in place to manage the complex.

I am appealing to the Jamaica Tourist Board, Digicel, LIME and any other corporate company to start paying attention and not wait until the name Boston Jerk Centre is run into the ground.

All in all, my weekend in Portland was wonderful and very relaxing, but I will not be returning to Boston Jerk Centre anytime soon.