Falmouth ... A tale of too many broken commitments
While the Falmouth cruise ship pier could be described as, a promise kept, from a physical standpoint, in terms of benefits to the residents of the seaside town, it is still a yet-to-be realised promise.
Speaking at the recent Gleaner Editor's Forum in Falmouth, Dennis Meadows, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) caretaker for North Trelawny, said the pier, which has been operational for the past five years, has not turned out to be the catalyst for development it was projected to be, much to the disappointment of the residents of the town.
"The cruise ship pier was seen as a catalyst for development in Falmouth; it is yet to realise the promise of the much heralded plans of improving the lives of the people," said Meadows. "There is now a level of disenchantment that is pervading the psyche of the people as a consequence of that disappointment."
However, broken promises are nothing new to the residents of Falmouth who, based on the many disappointments of the past, could well be wary of any new promises to bring prosperity to their town, which is rich in potential but poor in opportunities for advancement.
Below are four multimillion-dollar projects which were promised to Falmouth over recent years, but are yet to become a reality, much to the chagrin of residents.
- The ambitious US$1-billion Harmony Cove Development, which was slated to get off the ground in 2009 and is now slated for a 2017 roll-out.
The project, a joint venture between the Bahamas-based Tavistock Group and the Jamaican Government's Harmonisation Limited, is projected to develop luxury accommodations, championship golf courses, a casino, and an assortment of shopping and dining choices on 2,350 acres of oceanfront lands.
- The planned 1,700-room luxury development at Oyster Bay, which was announced in 2005, is yet to come off the drawing board. It is unclear whether or not the Spanish developers are planning to pursue the project.
- The 2004 promise to develop the Hampden Wharf into a major commercial/cultural centre, offering duty-free shopping malls, a slave museum, theatre/concert hall and a marina.
Recently, the Ministry of Tourism announced that an artisan village, featuring more than 300 shops, was to be developed inside the historic wharf, but it remains unclear whether or not the original plan was scraped.
- The US$30-million Trelawny Stadium, which was constructed for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, was earmarked to become the hub for sports tourism in western Jamaica. However, except for the odd cricket match, it has become an expensive white elephant with an uncertain future.
- It should also be noted that the plan to keep the town of Falmouth as a Georgian gem is also being undermined. As was pointed out before the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee in Gordon House last year by Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, the member of parliament for southern Trelawny, antique buildings are now being torn down and are being replaced with concrete structures, which is contrary to the town's heritage-site designation.