FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Immediate past president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce Dennis Seivwright is among a growing number of residents of the parish, who are calling for the erection of a statue of Usain Bolt, the Trelawny born legendary sprinter, in Falmouth's historic Water Square.
"It is my impression (that) we are joking with our potential. It's a natural flow of US dollars into the coffers of the (Trelawy) parish council if we have a man like that statue in the town as a tourist attraction," Seivwright argued.
The outspoken Seivwright said a system could be introduced whereby cruise passengers who wish to pose for pictures beside the proposed statue, are asked to make a contribution towards a fund for the maintenance of the square.
"When cruise passengers take pictures like that, they are asked to pay and I am quite sure that we would have enough money to maintain the square, so what are we waiting for?" Seivwright asked.
He recounted that three years ago he made a similar suggestion. At the time, he said, he recommended the erection of not only a statue of the Bolt, but of Olympians Veronica Campbell and Michael Frater, both natives of the Trelawny.
Former chairman of the civic affairs committee at the Trelawny Parish Council Fernandez "Bingy" Smith told the Jamaica Observer West yesterday that a few years ago he had tabled a motion at the council for statues of Bolt and Campbell to be erected in Water Square.
"We even went ahead and got some costing for it; and civil society was in favour of our proposal," said Smith, adding that "the whole thing seemed to just fizzle out afterwards."
He added that " it's about time we revisit the proposal."
But, Member of Parliament for North Trelawny, Patrick Atkinson, said there are already plans by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) to erect a statue of the 27-year-old Bolt, the World and Olympic sprint double champion, in the historic town.
The initial plan was to erect the monument on the cruise shipping pier, however, this has been stalled as it was strongly opposed by some stakeholders and residents of Trelawny, who argued that the statue should be ideally located in the full view of all residents.
The renewed call for the added attraction in Water Square, comes just weeks before the town welcomes the arrival of an additional cruise liner, Disney.
According to Atkinson, who is also the attorney general, Disney Cruise line will call at the Falmouth Port next month, followed by an Italian cruise line next year.
"Disney is starting cruise line to Falmouth in October. Already we have Royal Caribbean and now Disney and there is an Italian cruise line which is also expected to come next year," the MP disclosed.
According to the PAJ, Disney has the capacity to carry 2,700 passengers and 950 crew members.
Noting that the average cruise passenger spends roughly US$106 at each port of call, Atkinson conceded that there is a great need for attractions in the parish "to hinder the millions of foreign exchange from passing through our harbor, sail in and sail out again."
The Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the PAJ, which opened less than three years ago, was built at cost of $7.5 billion.
Between January 1 and August 31 this year, the port received 853,022 passengers, according to the PAJ.
Seivwright in the meantime is calling on the leaders of the parish to do more to make parishioners buy into the vision of the benefits to be derived from cruise shipping.
"What I am weary about now is that the vision needs to be sold to the people of Falmouth and Trelawny in general, in a very aggressive manner, so that people can see the awesome possibilities that exist. It (the pier) is a huge investment and we need to maximise our earnings and benefit from it," he emphasised.