Mon | Sep 21, 2020

New Puerto Seco beach provides employment for residents

Published:Wednesday | September 26, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Media personality Emprezz Golding (second right) shares the spotlight with members of the Puerto Seco Beach staff on Saturday during the beach’s official reopening in Discovery Bay, St Ann.
From left: This charming trio of Jeffrey Burke, Tamara Cox and Sadiq Miller embodied beach elegance at the reopening of the Puerto Seco Beach in St Ann recently.
Vinay Walia, group managing director, Guardsman Group, talks with emcee Cindy Breakspeare Bent before the start of the proceedings.
From left: Shadow Minister of Tourism Dr Wykeham McNeill; Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid; Kenny Benjamin, executive chairman at the Guardsman Group; the Honourable Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries; and Dr Dayton Campbell, MP for North West St Ann, toasted to the reopening of the Puerto Seco Beach.
Nicholas Benjamin and Ashleigh Fernandez are all smiles as they pose for a quick photo at the reopening of the Puerto Seco Beach recently.
These two stunning sisters, Jhanine Jackson (left) and Jheanell Jackson, rocking the beach elegance theme at the opening of the Puerto Seco Beach, recently.
Sutania Williams (left), supervisor, production and programmes at Real Jamaica Television and Jamaican actress, television personality, public speaker, film and theatre director, Dahlia Harris, were spotted last Saturday evening at the opening of the Puerto Seco Beach in Discovery Bay.

Imagine a cool afternoon on the immaculate, cream-coloured sands by the smooth waters of Discovery Bay. Music floats across the property as guests relax and enjoy the beach, the pool, and the comfortable pavilion behind.

This was the setting for the recent reopening of the renovated Puerto Seco Beach in Discovery Bay. With an investment of $630 million, this beautiful beach, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike over the years, has already provided employment for 86 Jamaicans since April of this year. Eighty-five per cent of them are residents of the small town and surrounding areas.

The number of local residents employed at Puerto Seco is expected to increase to 120 when the winter tourist season begins. Two hundred to 300 cruise-ship passengers from seven cruise liners will be able to enjoy the delights of the beach. They will also visit Guardsman Hospitality's other St Ann attraction, Konoko Falls, set in a lush, tropical garden a few minutes from Ocho Rios.

The Puerto Seco Beach came alive on its official reopening day. Guests enjoyed a wide range of entertainment for every musical taste - ranging from a dazzling performance by Sashekia Brown to musical performances from the entertainment team at Puerto Seco. Michael Jackson hits quickly got the crowd moving their feet and shaking their hips. Later on, Rory Baugh, backed by a live band, kept the crowd dancing all the way into the night on the poolside. Some guests wandered down to the sandy shore to enjoy the natural evening ambiance and dip their toes into the translucent waters lapping the beach. It was a memorable evening for all.

After being closed for more than two years, Guardsman Hospitality undertook extensive renovations and construction at the beach. It now offers a lot of special, new offerings, including a restaurant serving delicious Jamaican and international cuisine. Guests are able to go scuba diving in the bay's crystal waters as a certified PADI five Star dive facility is present. There is a floating aqua park system, by WIBIT Water Sports, as well as cabanas.

Kenny Benjamin, executive chairman of the Guardsman Group, noted that the company envisions Puerto Seco Beach as a world-class, family-friendly attraction.

"We remain committed to delivering exciting experiences for our guests in a setting with state-of-the-art facilities. In the 1970s, Puerto Seco was regarded as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, and we are delighted that we could be part of the restoration. We feel very blessed that Jamaica has so many beautiful, natural attributes, and it is our responsibility to make them sustainable while generating employment for our enthusiastic team members and enjoyment for local and overseas visitors."

As of October 2018, passengers from Carnival Corporation, which operates Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Costa Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Aida Cruises, Disney Cruise Lines, and the MSC Cruise Line, will visit the attractions on stopovers in Ocho Rios and Falmouth.

"Jamaican visitors have been responding well to our social media promotion, which offers a group incentive rate of 20 per cent discount on groups of 20 persons and over," said Laura Heron, general manager of Guardsman Hospitality. She said that the company is pleased to be able to offer Jamaicans a beach facility that is of the highest international standard - safe, well-maintained and with secured parking - to be enjoyed by persons of all ages.