Sun | Feb 5, 2023

Blue Lagoon closure justified, says Portland MC CEO

Published:Friday | December 9, 2022 | 1:00 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

BLUE LAGOON, Portland:

Portland Municipal Corporation CEO Jennifer Brown-Cunningham is maintaining that the decision to halt all commercial activities at the popular Blue Lagoon attraction is justified in restoring law and order.

She was responding to queries by Prospect Division Councillor Wayne McKenzie about the reason behind the closure of the parochial road leading to the location and the placement of a manned security barrier there.

The CEO, who spoke at length during the monthly sitting of the Portland Municipal Corporation on Thursday, pointed out that the municipality had to intervene to end the disorder at the Blue Lagoon.

“I am saying to you that the municipal corporation was a part of a stakeholders’ meeting that agreed for the cessation of all activities there,” said Brown-Cunningham.

“For 30, 40 years, what has been happening at the lagoon, all of Portland agrees, could not continue. There are no facilities there for the kind of activities that we need to take place there. I, too, am a little disappointed that we were not able to put everything together to meet the timeline that had been promised,” she added.

McKenzie contended that even though commercial activities have been halted, there are other persons who may want to visit the lagoon to take pictures or to bask in its natural beauty but are being prevented from doing so.

“If you have barriers and security there, you probably might not be able to walk down to the lagoon to [go] sightseeing or take a photograph,” McKenzie said.

The Blue Lagoon, which is one of Portland’s premier tourist attractions, had been plagued by incidents of drug peddling, extortion, and illegal rafting. Commercial activities at the location were brought to a halt on August 29 this year to facilitate the implementation of a more structured management system.

The Tourism Product Development Company; the Portland Municipal Corporation; the Alligator Head Foundation; the Ministry of Culture, Entertainment, Gender Affairs, and Sport; the Blue Lagoon Alliance; and the police were among the entities that signed off on the closure.

Additionally, the upgrade of the facility is expected to see operators there, who make up the Blue Lagoon Alliance, undergo training and sensitisation as to how to work within an attraction and to observe all legal requirements.

Commercial activities were expected to be resumed during National Heritage Week in October; however, the facility is yet to be reopened.