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ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Port Royal Development – Why are we sitting on this treasure?

Monday, January 01, 2018

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The Editor:

For the past 25 years I have been part of a group of over forty private sector minority shareholders in the Port Royal Development Company (Private/Public/Partnership which the government owns around 70%) trying to get the Port Royal Heritage Tourism Attraction & Cruise Ship Destination developed.

Jamaica needs to realize the true potential of this treasure but every attempt has been thwarted by an inept and indecisive bureaucracy called Government.

To put the development, we have proposed for the past several years in perspective, the key components are:

1.      Restoration of our historical sites in Port Royal including the Royal Naval Hospital, The Women's Gaol (Jail), Fort Charles, the Admiralty houses, the Torpedo stores and Fort Rocky;

2.      Opening all the above to visitation by Jamaicans and overseas visitors as major attractions and creating shops, restaurants and sidewalk Café's;

3.      Upgrading of the basic infrastructure of the entire town of Port Royal including the building of a sewage treatment system, drainage, water supply, roads and sidewalks, a new health clinic and police station and landscaping the town;

4.      Upgrading the housing for the people of Port Royal as the majority of the houses in the “Brotherhood” area are run down and need to be rebuilt to allow the Port Royal residents to own their own houses.

We have developed a master plan which is detailed at our Facebook Group at "Port Royal Heritage Tourism Development- Jamaica" and the overall plan is shown above.

Importantly, the outcomes expected at completion of all phases of build out in 5 years include:

Overall Investment- US$500M

Employment- Direct & indirect Jobs Created- 20,000

Annual Foreign Exchange Inflows into the economy of over US$230 per annum broken down as follows:

From Cruise Visitors- 5,000/day @ US$120/person 5 days/week for 52 weeks/year= US$156M

Other visitors 2,000/day spending on average US$50/person for 365 days= US$36.5M

Hotel earnings for 500 boutique rooms @US$300/day average 75% occupancy for 365 days/year =US$41M

Overall this will be a major economic & socio-cultural boost for Jamaica and in particular Kingston, Port Royal and St. Catherine.

We have potential investors ready to invest but we cannot get beyond the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, the UDC and the Development Bank of Jamaica all of whom clearly are not on the same page as the "Growth Council" who have as their objective 5% growth in four years.

Instead of the current haphazard pitchy-patchy development currently taking place in Port Royal, let us make 2018 the year when we seriously tackle the comprehensive development of the entire town.

Financing should be via the Stock Market so every Jamaican can have an opportunity to invest in developing this Jewel of the Caribbean into the most sought-after destination to be visited in the world.

 

Robert Stephens

Pragma Consultants Ltd.

 

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