UDC cancels annual fireworks display
THE Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has cancelled this year’s staging of the popular New Year’s eve fireworks display at the Kingston Harbour, citing a lack of funds.
Fireworks on the Waterfront, which costs an estimated $7 million each year, is usually financed by a number of corporate entities, business owners and vendors who operate in downtown Kingston. This year, however, according to the UDC, it could not secure the requisite funds because the majority of the sponsors had to respond to commitments made as a result of Hurricane Dean which hit the island in late August.
In a notice published in local newspapers yesterday, the agency said it shared the disappointment of the general public and the downtown community in particular that the event would not be staged. It also extended gratitude to sponsors, contributors, vendors and patrons who have supported the fireworks display over the years.
“A lot of people have been calling because people loved it and we too are saddened at the cancellation. We understand the disappointment because we also liked the fireworks but we just haven’t been able to get the funding,” said corporate relations manager Doreen O’Connor.
“It’s interesting how it started,” she added. “It was the brainchild of a member of staff of the UDC to signal the turn of the century. The first one was December 31, 1999 into 2000, and already it has established itself as a tradition.”
In order to save next year’s show, and to save the more than 20,000 patrons further disappointment, O’Connor said that the UDC would have to start planning from early in the year to ensure that the sponsors were not bogged down with other commitments.
This is the second straight year that the fireworks display has been cancelled. Last year, it was called off in the face of the growing malaria threat, particularly in some of the built-up areas of downtown Kingston and other parts of the island.
The idea then was originally to postpone the event to coincide with the beginning of Cricket World Cup in late March, but financing proved challenging then as well and the event was called off.