A $500-million beautification and rehabilitation project is to be undertaken in the town of Falmouth in Trelawny.
Attorney General and Member of Parliament for North Trelawny, Patrick Atkinson, made the disclosure while delivering the keynote address at a Friends of Trelawny Association's (FOTA) 'Tribute in Gold' gala, held recently at the Hilton JFK Hotel in Queens, New York.
Atkinson pointed out that funds for the project will come from the PetroCaribe Agreement. "The funds are for the sole purpose of cleaning up the town of Falmouth for its citizens and for the new influx of visitors we anticipate will come," he said, adding that the project is scheduled to begin within two months.
Under the project, Falmouth will undergo widespread beautification, cleaning of drains, covering of manholes, construction of sidewalks for pedestrians and construction of food courts, among other features.
According to Atkinson, plans are also in the works to relocate the commercial centre from the town of Falmouth to a site farther north, along Market Street. He pointed out that the market will be removed and rebuilt, and a transportation centre will also be constructed. It is hoped that the relocation will invite new businesses into Falmouth.
The minister lamented that while the town of Falmouth is welcoming thousands of visitors on a weekly basis, as a result of cruise ship calls, the parish and the town have not benefited because of a lack of attractions.
"A lot of the tourists are bussed out of the town to Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. This will have to stop. We will have to find a way to keep those tourists in the parish, so that businesses and attractions can come alive and be developed," Atkinson emphasised.
The minister informed that efforts are now being made to revitalise those attractions, which have been out of operation, and to invite investors to develop new attractions. Some of these attractions will include museums, great houses and caves.
Atkinson lauded FOTA for its vibrancy, and for promoting the parish. "You, the citizens of Trelawny in the diaspora, whether you reside in the United States, Canada or England, you really never left Trelawny."