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Falmouth citizens yet to benefit from cruise-ship industry - mayor

Published:Friday | December 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Wilkinson

WESTERN BUREAU:

FOLLOWING RECENT complaints from residents and business interests in Falmouth, Trelawny, that they have not been positively impacted by the raft of developments that have taken place over the last six years, the town's mayor, Garth Wilkinson, is now expressing similar sentiments.

According to Wilkinson, who is also chairman of the Trelawny Parish Council, the impact of the development of the new Port of Falmouth, the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, approximately 4,000 new homes, additional hotel rooms and the influx of Chinese investment in Jamaica's commercial industry were not being felt in the town.

"As the local authority, we have yet to successfully merge the new Falmouth with the old Falmouth, and the disparity is very evident," said Wilkinson, while addressing last week's Western Jamaica Economic Forum in Montego Bay.

"It all began with the development of the Port of Falmouth, wherein we have seen the cruise-ship industry making an impact in Jamaica, but still our citizens feel they are yet to benefit from this venture."

"We still have a problem of selling Falmouth as a heritage town and convincing our citizens to maintain our historic Georgian structures ... we are not seeing the spin-off to the citizens of Trelawny," added Wilkinson.

Falmouth, once a major commercial centre in Jamaica, has the best collection of Georgian architecture in the Western Hemisphere and boasts one of the most modern ports of entry in the region - the Falmouth pier, which was constructed in 2011 in a partnership arrangement between Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the Port Authority of Jamaica.

Despite the complaints about the lack of spin-off benefits from cruise shipping in Falmouth, Dennis Seivwright, a former president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, still thinks the overall concept is a good one, but intimated that it is not being managed to the benefit of residents.