New commercial centre for old Trelawny market site

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 03, 2018

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), which contributed more than $300 million towards the construction of the newly relocated, state-of-the-art Falmouth market, says it is now fine- tuning plans to develop a new commercial centre at the old market site in the historic Trelawny capital.

“That area is earmarked for a new commercial centre for Falmouth. It will form a part of a new development which is being finalised at the moment,” said Professor Gordon Shirley, president and chief executive officer of the PAJ.

He was, however, unable to provide a start date for the project.

“I won't be able to tell you when it will start, but I can tell you the prime minister has told us that he wants it to be done as early as possible — and we are working to make that a reality,” Professor Shirley said.

He refused to reveal the scope of the impending project but, according to a Jamaica Observer source, the area will, among other things, accommodate government agency offices, thus freeing up space in historic buildings in the town that are slated for conversion into attractions.

The PAJ acquired a parcel of land, including the site of the old market, to facilitate the development of the Falmouth cruise shipping port, triggering the need for a new market.

Speaking at the official opening of the market last Thursday, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, who stated that the opening of the facility “signals a new start in the commercial activities in the town of Falmouth”, hailed the PAJ for making it a possibility.

“I want to pay special attention to the work of the Port Authority, which provided the significant portion of the funding for this project — not just the financing of the project but also the technical support, the logistic support in enabling us to complete this process,” the local government minister said.

He added that the Falmouth market is only second in size to Coronation Market in his Kingston Western constituency.

“The largest public market in the Caribbean and this part of the world is situated in my constituency, the Coronation Market. I have travelled the length and breadth of this island and there is no other market outside of the Coronation Market that can be compared to this market here in Falmouth. So you have the second-largest market in the country,” McKenzie stated.

Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Colin Gadget also had high praises for the PAJ.

“I must now take this time to thank the Port Authority of Jamaica for facilitating the construction of this market at a cost of $300 million. The Trelawny Municipal Corporation register our sincere gratitude to the Port Authority for this significant investment in the parish,” he said.

He also thanked McKenzie for assistance with additional funding for the project, which attracted a price tag of over $350 million.

Professor Shirley noted that the market project dates back to 2009 when the terminal was being developed, and was completed last year.

“It wasn't the easiest process but it is one that we think is well worth it,” he said.

He chronicled a string of developmental projects undertaken in the town by the PAJ, which he said are testimony to the agency's commitment to the development of Falmouth “as the pre-eminent destination for cruise in the region”.

He pointed to the ongoing construction of an artisan village at Hampden Wharf, a $700-million project funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund which is being managed by the PAJ.

Shirley also mentioned the $300 million the PAJ spent on the streetscapes of Falmouth Street, Market, Tharpe Streets, and Seaboard Street in the town, and said there are more streetscaping to come.

Additionally, Professor Shirley pointed to the PAJ's contribution towards construction of a craft market, where two of the three phases have been completed; the Water Square maintenance project; and the impending peddie cab project for a number of younger members of the community.

“We have made a number of contributions to hospitals and schools, and we have a number of other projects that are in train, which I won't speak about today,” he said.

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