Jimmy Cliff wants to develop ecotourism in Somerton
SOMERTON, St James — Iconic reggae singer Jimmy Cliff has his sights set on partnering with the Government to establish ecotourism in his native Somerton community in this parish.
Cliff, born James Chambers, shared his vision after receiving the inaugural Irie FM Lifetime Achievement Award at his alma mater, Somerton All-Age and Infant School, on Sunday.
“I have great plans, great visions, great ideas,” he said. “What we did down there for that (football) field was just the tip of the iceberg. I intend to share it (plans) with our member of Parliament (Edmund Bartlett), share the idea that we have. I can’t do it alone. We have done quite a bit by ourselves, but we also need your help. So just making public we will share the ideas that we have. I can tell you right now we want to make Somerton an ecotourism area. That is what we want.”
The legendary reggae singer, who was instrumental in the construction of a bridge and a community centre in Somerton, expressed gratitude to those, including his sibling, Victor Chambers, for assisting with both projects.
“I want to say a special thanks to my brother, Victor Chambers. I am so grateful to the Somerton community. I want to say the great community that we were at a certain point in time, we still are. Those values are still here with us. Those people are still here with us. For instance... for those of you who travelled in from Montego Bay, I hope you like the bridge. The second bridge. Myself, my brother and members of the community, we did that with our money, with our effort, with our love,” he disclosed.
“We don’t depend on no politicians; we respect, but we don’t depend on them.”
During his tribute to Cliff, St James East Central MP Edmund Bartlett, who lauded
Irie FM for the initiative, announced plans to make Somerton All-Age School a centre of excellence for primary education for the arts.
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, who also heaped praises on Irie FM, announced that steps are being taken to rename Gloucester Avenue in the tourist resort city in Jimmy Cliff’s honour.
Bartlett also said that the road from Fording to Somerton Square will be renamed Jimmy Cliff Boulevard.
Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, who also attended Somerton All-Age, described Cliff as an international icon.
“Jimmy, I am proud of you as a Jamaican for what you have represented to the world and in the field of culture, and I am not surprised that you come from Somerton,” Patterson said.
“We congratulate Irie FM for what they have been doing to promote our music. But I want to also congratulate them on this award of excellence, and I would say that in naming you as the first honoree, they have set the bar very, very high and I don’t know who else is going to be able to jump over it,” Patterson said.