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LETTER OF THE DAY - Outameni slavery theme won't woo tourists!

Published:Monday | November 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM


I join the chorus of demands that the purchase of the Trelawny property by the National Housing Trust (NHT) be fully investigated and that the board resigns with immediate effect.

The other side of this saga - and nobody has been brave enough to admit - is that the attraction, though historically accurate, is not appealing to the average visitor.

The horrible and brutal truth of slavery is a subject that makes white people uncomfortable to the point where some are reduced to tears, and second, we as a people don't want to face the truth as to the inhuman treatment that our forefathers experienced.

Added to this, many of our taxi operators refuse to take their guests to see the attraction, and it is not only the small operators who have this problem - the large tour companies have excluded this venue from their itinerary for some time.

This is not the first time that a slavery-themed attraction has failed to attract customers from the tourist industry, the Bellefield Great House attraction also suffered a similar fate and had to close.

It is not often that I agree with Ras Astor Black, but this is one case in which I do, when he said, in part, "You cannot sell the story of our slavery to the very people who are accused of enslaving us."

I cannot see how the NHT will be able to change the attraction to become tourist friendly. Second, the NHT is a housing bank operation and does not have the management skills within the organisation to market an attraction.

Popular attractions are designed to have the visitors entertained, encouraging them to forget the drudgery of everyday life and transforming them into a land of fantasy - to do or see things that they will remember long after returning home.

I, therefore, am calling on the prime minister to instruct the NHT to halt any further expenditure on the Outameni attraction until a credible and well-tested business plan can be devised.