Falmouth gets $448m injection - Road repairs, construction of new market on the horizon
After languishing in a stagnated state for the better part of the past five years, primarily due to a spate of broken promises, the Trelawny parish capital is poised for major infrastructural development at a cost of approximately $448 million.
The announcement, made during a recent tour of the seaside town by Dr Morais Guy, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, has raised hopes among Falmouth stakeholders, who have been lamenting the neglect of the town.
"Falmouth is of significant importance to this part of the island," said Guy. "Yes, it is close to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, but in its own right, Falmouth has very important historical significance, and twinning that with the tourism product that we are offering here, it is important not only for the development of the township and of the parish, but for the entire country."
Of the designated sum, $73 million will go to rehabilitation work on the eastern approach to the town, $175 million to the construction of a new market, and $200 million towards street scraping.
The funds were realised courtesy of the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Tourism Enhance-ment Fund, and an allocation from the PetroCaribe Fund.
MORE FUNDS NEEDED
An additional $1.2 billion will be required to deal with the long-standing problems with the dragline drains, which have affected development plans in the past.
Turning to specific concerns facing residents of Falmouth, Guy identified the drainage problem, the need for a proper sewerage system, and the rehabilitation
of the dragline, which is inundated with disposable waste, as priorities, although not giving a timeline to tackle those issues.
North Trelawny Member of Parliament Patrick Atkinson, who was also on the tour, wants to see the issues addressed soon.
"I am really more concerned with what it will cost if we don't do it now," said Atkinson. "I think it is imperative and absolute that we should maximise this product. Even as we speak, there are two large cruise ships a few feet from us, with tourists who are not coming out, so we need to fix the town."
Two months ago, Trelawny Custos Paul Muschett blasted the authorities for the unsanitary state of the town.
" ... The tourists don't like to see filth ... . The port is spotless and the tourists don't want to come out of an area that is sterile and spotless and come out and try to support you if the place is filthy, smells bad and they are getting harassed," Muschett said as he addressed a group of craft vendors..
"There is no excuse for garbage and excrement and filthy water in the town, so whoever is responsible for all those things, including the general public, needs to feel pressure to clean up the town," the custos said.
With the $448 million invest-ment and the promise of more to come, business stakeholders are hoping the latest proposed works will be undertaken, albeit that many previous plans and promises have come to nothing.