Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Give Black River cruise ship pier - Buchanan

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMDaraine Luton
Hugh Buchanan

South West St Elizabeth Member of Parliament Hugh Buchanan has called for a cruise ship pier to be constructed in Black River, the heart of his constituency.

"I believe that a cruise ship pier in Black River would do a lot for tourism. We have the attractions already there in St Elizabeth, with the YS Fall, the Safari, Treasure Beach and Lovers' Leap," Buchanan said.

The member of parliament, while contributing to the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said

"having tourists come to the south coast must be a priority for the Government".

He argued that the pier, if constructed, would lead to greater earnings from the country's largest export.

Buchanan, who recently survived a challenge from Ewan Stephenson for the leadership of the constituency, has been MP since 2011, having beaten then government minister Dr Christopher Tufton by 13 votes.

The second-generation parliamentarian said during the debate that he was seeking to build on work that was done before him, pointing in the direction of his father, Donald Buchanan, who served between 1989 and 2007.

The young Buchanan said that the Donald Buchanan Sports Tourism Centre in Treasure Beach offers tremendous opportunities for sports tourism. He said that repairs which are to be done on the Mountainside to Watchwell road will link all the attractions in the parish.

With this linkage, Buchanan said people would be able to "move easier from Treasure Beach to Holland Bamboo or to YS Falls, to the zoo in Lacovia, or you can come back across and come to Treasure Beach or the Lovers' Leap attraction in Southfield".

Nature-based attractions

More than 100 species of birds have been recorded in the Black River morass. The endangered American crocodile inhabits the area and sightings are very frequent. St Elizabeth is also the home of Jamaica Zoo in Burton Mountain, Lacovia.

Another of the country's attractions, YS Falls, is a nature-based attraction, offering the opportunity to experience the beauty of waterfalls surrounded by lush gardens and magnificent trees.

Buchanan believes that with the parish offering so many attractions, a cruise ship pier would go a far way in boosting its position in the tourism market.

Under its Cruise Jamaica brand, the Port Authority of Jamaica operates cruise ship terminals in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio. There is also a pier in Falmouth which is operated by Royal Caribbean. Some 772,265 cruise passengers arrived at the Falmouth Pier in 2013 while Ocho Rios saw 410,090 visitors in 2014. Montego Bay reported arrivals of 240,083 cruise passengers in 2014.