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Letter of the Day | Proposed Port Royal cruise pier not viable

Published:Tuesday | July 23, 2019 | 12:00 AM


I am sitting here almost daily reading about the proposed cruise ship pier for Port Royal, which, to my mind, is really a cop -out for where the pier should really go, downtown Kingston. The tourism officials are probably ready to pull their hair out for me saying this. Well, let me lay out the real situation for them.

Port Royal, no matter how much you fix it up, will never be able to adequately accommodate a large cruise ship.

There is just not enough space to really make it financially worthwhile for the cruise ship and, by extension, the destination.

If the goal is to bus people into Kingston to make use of its cultural resources, then there is another problem. The road infrastructure will prove woefully inadequate. Even with a massive upgrade of the road, you are talking about a minimum 90 minutes of travel just to get to the edge of the Kingston area.

Put a cruise pier along the corridor anywhere from the Maritime University to Fort Augusta and you have a winner. Port Royal would be still pretty much in the picture, just not the port of entry. So the argument in the cruise industry is that the crime in Kingston is its Achilles heel. Well, from the standpoint of social engineering, let me be very blunt – don’t expect to solve crime in downtown Kingston before you can bring a cruise port there. It is the other way around. Bring a cruise port there, create the jobs and crime will go away.

They are trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. It is why these tourism people have been ‘backing and forthing’ for umpteen years about a cruise ship pier in Port Royal.

It is just not going to work out, and the players have been doing all kinds of gymnastics to convince themselves that it can work. It will not. Time to face the reality and do the right thing for Kingston and Jamaica.

Colin McDonald

CEO/Managing Director

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