Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
Executive Director of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), Laleta Davis-Mattis, has said that the development of Port Royal as a prime attraction must be incorporated in the restoration plans for the city of Kingston.
Davis, who joined up with Governor General Sir Patrick Allen on a tour of Fort Charles in Port Royal yesterday, said there were a number of plans in the pipeline to develop the area and that she was encouraged by the efforts of the various stakeholders to improve the physical infrastructure of both Kingston and Port Royal.
"There are lots of plans for Port Royal, and I think now the Ministry of Youth and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism are poised to really look at Port Royal as a destination not just for tourists, but as a destination for Jamaicans, and to put all the development plans in place," she said.
"If you look at Port Royal geographically, Kingston without Port Royal or Port Royal without Kingston wouldn't really make much sense. It makes better sense to look at them as complementary areas. Port Royal has so much history. There is so much information for Jamaicans to embrace that the development of Port Royal is almost a pre-requisite to the development of Kingston itself."
Davis said the potential of Port Royal, an area once named the wickedest city in the world, has long been underestimated and that it was time its potential be recognised.
"Port Royal is massive. People don't even understand what we have here. We talk about the underwater city, and the little research that we have done so far, but that little research unearthed so much information."
PLANS FOR DEVELOPMENT
She said currently there were plans to develop a museum as well as an archaeological park in the area.
"There are many plans that have been in place for some time and I think the Government is now poised to roll out those plans for the benefit of Jamaicans," Davis said.
In the meantime, Sir Patrick used the occasion to praise the team at the JNHT for their efforts in helping to safeguard the identity of the country, adding that serious efforts must be placed on the preservation of culture.
The tour of Port Royal and a number of other sites yesterday marked the end of a series of parish tours for the governor general, which forms part of his list of activities to celebrate Jamaica 50.