Trelawny falls short on attractions
Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:Even as local interest groups continue to chastise the National Housing Trust (NHT) for its controversial purchase of the Trelawny-based Outameni Experience, the absence of quality attractions in the parish is a cause for concern.
Owing to the limited attractions in Trelawny, cruise ship passengers, who disembark at Falmouth Pier in large numbers weekly, are patronising attractions in the neighbouring parishes of St Ann and St James, much to the chagrin of residents.
Except for the multimillion dollar Good Hope Great House, which offers over 10 different attractions for visitors and is also a wedding destination; the Martha Brae River, which offers rafting; the Swamp Safari on the outskirts of Falmouth; and the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency Cockpit Country tours, the parish has no attractions of note.
On account of the parish's precarious situation, former North Trelawny Member of Parliament Dr Patrick Harris is hoping the Outameni controversy will quickly become a thing of the past so that the attraction can realise its fullest potential.
"It might not be the NHT's core function to invest in attractions but sometimes Government has to take the lead, and Outameni is a fantastic attraction, which the Government can help to develop and even sell in the future ... it is good for the parish." Dr Harris said.
Trelawny has seen a flurry of activities and increased tourist arrivals since the 2011 opening of the New Falmouth Pier. However, attractions such as Outameni and the party boat, the Galleon of Captain Hook, which has ceased business, have struggled financially.
Another much talked about attraction, the Water Wheel in Martha Brae, where some J$9 million was spent on upgrading, is yet to begin operations.
The town of Falmouth, which boasts 240 years of rich Georgian heritage, is still seeing very little tourism-related activities, albeit that it is one of the first shipping ports in the Caribbean, and was an economic powerhouse during the English colonial period. Falmouth also has one of the largest collections of 19th-century Georgian architecture.
When it bought the Long and Hampden sugar factories in the 2011 government divestment, the owners of Everglades Farms Limited had promised to add a tourism component to its business plan to include a rum museum for Hampden, a sugar cane museum at Clark's Town, and tours of the great houses and cane mills.