Mayor Says Food Festivals and Entertainment Events are Good for St. Ann

Photo: Garwin Davis Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, His Worship Michael Belnavis (left), in discussion with Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook, at the press launch of the upcoming Ocho Rios Seafood Festival in the town on June 22.

Story Highlights

  • Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, His Worship Michael Belnavis, says food festivals and other entertainment related events have been doing wonders for the economic fortunes of St. Ann.
  • Addressing the press launch of the upcoming Ocho Rios Seafood Festival in the town on June 22, Mr. Belnavis said it is clear that St. Ann, particularly the resort town of Ocho Rios, is now the destination of choice for event promoters.
  • “When a major food festival like the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival is held, a lot of persons, from the supermarket owners to the taxi and jelly man, benefit. This is something that people look forward to, so as a parish council we try to do whatever we can to assist. We try to show our appreciation by being a facilitator, as opposed to making life difficult for promoters,” he said.

Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, His Worship Michael Belnavis, says food festivals and other entertainment related events have been doing wonders for the economic fortunes of St. Ann.

Addressing the press launch of the upcoming Ocho Rios Seafood Festival in the town on June 22, Mr. Belnavis said it is clear that St. Ann, particularly the resort town of Ocho Rios, is now the destination of choice for event promoters.

“There was a time when this wasn’t the case. Ocho Rios was pretty much on the back burner until round about 2007 when the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival emerged on the calendar,” he said.

The Mayor said that the Garden Parish has seen a reversal of fortunes as it relates to entertainment, noting that there have been huge indirect benefits for residents and business persons.

“When a major food festival like the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival is held, a lot of persons, from the supermarket owners to the taxi and jelly man, benefit. This is something that people look forward to, so as a parish council we try to do whatever we can to assist. We try to show our appreciation by being a facilitator, as opposed to making life difficult for promoters,” he said.

Mr. Belnavis said the parish council also tries to work with other agencies and government departments to ensure that promoters are properly guided as it relates to obtaining permits for events, ensuring “that we are all on the same page”.

“We have heard the complaints regularly from promoters that there is too much bureaucracy and stress when it comes to obtaining permits. What we try to do here in St. Ann is to work with them as closely as possible, so as to alleviate whatever problem there is,” he noted.

For his part, Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook, who also addressed the gathering, said the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is happy to join the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in supporting an event with “a track record of success” like the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival.

“We see the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival as an event with the potential to attract a lot of overseas patrons, especially those who are inside the hotels and want to come out and enjoy a family event of this magnitude,” he argued.Mr. Pennicook commended the organisers for putting the culinary events on the entertainment calendar.

Mr. Pennicook commended the organisers for putting the culinary events on the entertainment calendar.

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