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JIS News

The annual Alligator Pond regatta, with boat races as the main attraction, was revived on January 1, 2010.
This event, which began in Manchester some 20 years ago as a New Year’s Day spectacle, had been reduced to a fragmented activity, with no boat races.
Programmes Co-ordinator at the Manchester Parish Development Committee, Ms. Angela Lawrence, told JIS News that the move to revive the regatta was part of the local sustainable development profile for the parish and formed one of many development plans for the Alligator Pond area.
“Years ago we completed our local sustainable development profile and what we have here is just a prelude to some of the things the community wants to do,” she said.
She pointed out that members of the Alligator Pond community wished to embrace community tourism, as well as the development of the nearby cays and river as tourist attractions.
“The community wants to have some community tourism that we are also working on with them. We are working with other agents as well, as we are trying to develop the cays as a tourist attraction as well as the river,” Ms. Lawrence noted.
She explained that although the boat races had stopped, many persons still visited the community on New Year’s Day, but there was no structured event or activity.
“This year the Citizens Association, the Little Hands Committee and Little Ochie decided that instead of everybody doing their own separate thing, they would come together and form a committee called the Friends of Alligator Pond. The Manchester Parish Development Committee was invited to facilitate this process and to work with the groups and to help them develop this as an annual event, so we helped them to organise the activities and bring back the boat races,” she said.
She said that plans are also in place to set up a kiddie’s village as well as the hosting of a stage show for next year’s event.
Ms. Lawrence pointed out that proceeds from the entrance fee that was charged would go towards development projects that are being planned for the community, including a reading centre and a computer laboratory at the primary school. “We also want to put in a flush toilet system at the school,” she said.
Chairperson for the Friends of Alligator Pond and owner of Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant, Evrol Christian, said that the whole concept of the regatta is to “bring back the true old time feeling of Alligator Pond.”
He added that with the support of the fishermen from Alligator Pond and the drive of the business people, the regatta would be an annual event again.
“I am happy that the fishermen decided to use their expensive engines for the entertainment. I pledge that with the help of the fishermen and the business people in Alligator Pond, this event will go on”, he said.
Returning resident and patron at the event, Ms. Joyce Brown, said that the event is a wonderful occasion that augurs well for the community of Alligator Pond.
“I think this is a good thing for the community and I hope this will continue every year,” she said.

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