JIS News

The Harbour Street and Old Fort craft markets in Montego Bay are to benefit from extensive rehabilitation and upgrading works at a total cost of $26.2 million, with the work to be completed in time for the staging of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007.
Minister of State for Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who toured the sites on Wednesday (Nov.1), said that the work would be financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), which has approved $72 million to the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) for the transformation, beautification and improvement of craft markets islandwide.
The Harbour Street and Old Fort markets are the first facilities to benefit under the initiative, he said, with $16 million and $10.2 million allocated respectively, for the works.
“There will be some work done on the roofs, work will be done to improve the drainage, the bathrooms.work will be done to enhance the properties, the landscaping and the walkways,” he told JIS News.
In addition, Dr. McNeill informed that a further $1.8 million would be granted to the Harbour Street craft market and $1.2 million to Old Fort for the purpose of product development.
“What that will do is put in story boards, ensuring that they have proper signs, entertainment when the visitors come, that there are things happening in the markets .so that the craft markets become a real tourism experience,” he stated, adding that a further $700,000 would be allocated to each facility for product marketing.
Minister McNeill informed that similar site visits would be made to craft markets in Negril, Port Antonio, Ocho Rios and Kingston, noting that the aim was to develop all craft market across the island.
In the meantime, he informed that the old hospital site, also in Montego Bay would be developed into a recreational park, similar to Emancipation Park in Kingston. The first phase, he said, should be completed before the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. Funding for the project will also be provided under the TEF.