Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
IT WAS fun and excitement at Bay View Villas and Spa recently as dozens of Portlanders were told tales of the parish's history, including how several communities got their names.
One of the evening's high points was a pictorial presentation by Winston Harris, a Titchfield High School past student. He pointed to a number of historic buildings and properties, including the old Titchfield Hotel, which was built in the early 1900s and which boasted 400 rooms; Navy Island, once the home of Hollywood-legend Errol Flynn; and the historic Christ Church, which was built in the 19th century.
Many were in awe as the rich history of Portland unfolded. Others dined on sumptuous meals prepared by the kitchen staff at the eco-friendly facility.
Former Jamaica Union of Travellers' Association Portland chapter president, Delroy Farr, then spoke about his early interaction with tourists, which ultimately paved the way for his entrance into tourism.
According to Farr, Port Antonio, the cradle of tourism, did far better in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s than now, as back then, tourism was the breadbasket of the parish. He said it was a time when all who were involved in the tourism industry carried out their function proudly and with distinction.
Operations manager at Bay View Villas, Marcia Lawrence, said the experience was good for those who turned up, as they were not only educated about the history of the parish, but they were also well entertained.