......reflecting on the good old days
Historical records show that in the heydays of sugar, Green Island, in Hanover, was a bustling seaport town, supported by sugar estates such as Harding Hall, Prospect, Saxham, Winchester, Rhodes Hall, Haughton and Glasgow.
Sugar and other produce were exported in small boats from six wharves, which were located at the fringes of the town's bay. Rice was also planted in the Green Island morass in the 1900s, but this was discontinued after the growth of tourism in the neighbouring resort town of Negril.
Located approximately 22 kilometres west of Lucea, the Hanover parish capital, Green Island forms the midpoint between that town (Lucea), and Negril.
Green Island was said to be a major economic zone for Hanover, in the 1900s, and Saturdays, in particular, were always bustling with activity as fishermen from as far as Negril, local rice farmers from Santoy and Westmoreland, tobacco cultivators and farmers from as far away as St. Elizabeth, would journey to the town to sell their produce.
In the early 1990s, Green Island became Hanover's epicentre of entertainment and one of the most sought after places of amusement in western Jamaica, following the opening of the Mandela Green Entertainment Centre, in an area regarded as Old Green Island. In its heydays, Mandela Green hosted some of the biggest names in reggae. However, it was later closed after the facility was smashed by unruly patrons following the 'no-show' of a popular artiste for an event one night.
While the town has seen a downturn in agricultural trade, it has seen some growth in tourism, with the opening of several guest houses and tourism attractions such as the Rhodes Hall Plantation and Half Moon Beach, which also provide overnight accommodation for tourists and Jamaicans alike.
The Green Island coast is also home to some of the healthiest coral reefs on the island. As a result, the area is a prime diving and snorkelling hotspot for many catamaran tour operators and other members of the marine recreation sector.
- Claudia Gardner