Prime Minister The Most Honourable Andrew Holness has announced that some JMD$1.2 billion overall will be spent by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) in improving the Ocho Rios Farmer’s Market with the first $100 million being spent this year (2017) on that facility.
“Let us fix up the market, market doesn’t have to be a dirty place, market doesn’t have to be a congested place, market doesn’t have to be a place where you have to think twice about walking in it…in other countries the market is the place where people go for entertainment, they go to have lunch, it is an attraction,” the Prime Minister said.
Speaking during the first of a series of town hall meetings geared at communicating the government’s plans and policies in Ocho Rios the Prime Minister said it was an industry-wide consensus that the town needed a facelift.
“Can you imagine the day when your market is an attraction? When the cruise ship people come off and say …I want to go to the market to get some fresh Jamaican fruits,”. Right now you can’t carry tourists to the market. So that is why the UDC will be spending overall $1.2 billion… on improving the market,” he told persons.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister said another $2.5 billion will be spent “to improve the Reynolds Pier by the Port Authority of Jamaica so that it can now comfortably take cruise ships”. “So it will have two berths which mean we can take two cruise ships at a time,” he told the gathering.
Addressing the issue of the sometimes cramped conditions under which persons in the craft market ply their trade Prime Minister Holness said some $80 million will be expended by the UDC to begin construction of a new artisan village this year.
“We have our high quality craft items but sometimes the little (cramped) conditions under which we attempt to sell them is not attractive and endearing to the tourists…it is time we take a different view of craft and treat it as an important pillar of the tourist experience …give our artisans and craft retailers appropriate space for them to be able to display their wares,” the Prime Minister detailed.
“We are going to do some expansion work, we are going to be building an artisan village here that will have not just space for the retailers but space for the actual craft making so that when the tourists come they are not just coming to purchase but they can interact with the artisans and get their craft items customised,” he added.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister mentioned that there are also plans to develop Pineapple Place as part of the move to transform the area into a resort zone. This will see the relocating of several ministries and government agencies currently housed along the waterfront to lands outside the zone.
The UDC has been working in the town of Ocho Rios for several decades transforming the space from a sleepy fishing village into a vibrant resort centre with world famous attractions such as the Dunn’s River Falls and Park which recently added a Central Gardens area complete with waterslide, splash pad and 12 kiosks.
For further information, please contact
The Corporate Relations Department
Urban Development Corporation
12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston Mall
May 18, 2017