LETTER OF THE DAY - Locate national sports museum in Spanish Town
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Part of Jamaica's long-term economic well-being is based on tourism, and one of the biggest attractions for tourists is museums. Just visit Washington, DC, and you will find millions of tourists - local and international - absorbing the information and intensely examining artefacts.
Jamaica needs the type of tourism that entices travel beyond the gates of the all-inclusive resorts. We need tourists roaming the island and visiting places of interest (in other words, spend their money all over). The country needs the type of tourism that has tremendous economic multiplying effect.
The Government's decision to establish a national sports museum is good thing. For example, establishing a national sport museum in the Kingston Metropolitan Area would improve the passenger usage and mix at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), therefore, making it attractive for the private sector to finally purchase it from the Government.
SPANISH TOWN: VISIBLE HERITAGE
While it could be a temporary location for the Jubilee, I do not believe that the National Stadium site is the optimal location for the museum. In fact, given its historical significance, the stadium, with much-needed improvements, could be part of a drive-by tourism attraction. To get a real economic bang, I believe, strategically, the optimal site location is Spanish Town.
Whereas downtown Kingston should be our visible political city, Spanish Town, given its historical significance, should become our visible heritage town with stand-alone national museums for sports, music, Jamaican history, etc. Historic buildings should be refurbished and Emancipation Square should become a living monument.
I believe the national sports museum should be located at what is now the St Catherine District Prison, once a new, modern correctional facility is built and the site refurbished.
Just envision for a minute, with this location: Tourists could now take the revitalised railway service from Anchovy to Spanish Town to visit the museums; increased visitor arrivals through NMIA now make it possible to remove it from the public purse; the JUTC would see an increase in ridership and Portmore, now the 'capital' of St Catherine, would be peppered with boutique-style hotels.
For its part, Spanish Town, now officially labelled 'Historic National Capital, Spanish Town', with the location of our national sports museum, would be raised to that of national heritage status.