The Portmore Fishing Village Complex in St. Catherine has been completed and vendors and fishers are to be fully relocated to the site within a month.
The facility, located on the Jamworld property at Dyke Road, was officially opened yesterday (October 30) by Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry.
It will accommodate fisherfolk, who previously plied their trade along the Portmore Causeway, but had to be relocated to facilitate construction of the Portmore leg of Highway 2000.
The project was funded and implemented by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), which represents Government’s interests in the Highway 2000 project, while M and M Jamaica Limited, an engineering and project management company, carried out construction works.
During the brief opening ceremony, Mr. Henry informed that close to $300 million was spent on the project, which comprised beach improvement works, including the dredging of a boat channel for fishing boats; and construction of 110 units for fishermen and 34 vending stalls. The complex also has secure storage cubicles for the fishermen, bathroom facilities inclusive of septic tank and tile field for drainage, and areas to accommodate restaurants.
The Minister informed that in order to ensure that the facilities are allocated to the right persons, NROCC commissioned a census of the old Causeway fishing village, which was completed in July last year.
His Worship the Mayor of Portmore, Keith Hinds, commended the contractors “for really doing a splendid job”, noting that “this facility is a first-class fishing village”.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry (right) engages in a light moment with Representative of the Causeway Fisher Folk Friendly Society, Marva Lynch, (left) during a ceremony held on Friday, October 30 to officially open the Portmore Fishing Village Complex in St. Catherine. Sharing in the moment is His Worship the Mayor of Portmore, Keith Hinds.
“It is one that I hope to replicate in the future in other areas in the municipality…such as Hellshire Beach. I want to have (it) developed in a fashion such as this,” he stated.
Mayor Hinds suggested that the municipality be allowed to develop a market adjacent to the new fishing village. “It will augur well for the business of the fisher folk. It would bring more people to your place of business,” he contended.
The management and operation of the fishing village will be undertaken by a committee comprising representatives of the Portmore Municipality, the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, fishermen and fish vendors.
Representative of the Causeway Fisher Folk Friendly Society, Marva Lynch, in expressing gratitude on behalf of the group, promised to maintain and take care of the facility.
“We appeal to the surrounding communities and we ask for your co-operation and your support so that we may co-exist peacefully. We ask that you not only look at us as just mere fish vendors and fishermen, but as a body of people doing a meaningful job in this great country,” she stated.
Fish vendor Maria Martin, who spoke to JIS News following the ceremony, said she was appreciative of the newly established fishing village. “We hope that the customers will come out now that we are around this area,” she said.
Professing to be one of the oldest vendors on the Causeway, Hyacinth Brown told JIS News that she has been plying her trade at the site since 1980. She said she was glad to be moving to the new facility, as business has dwindled since they were removed from the Causeway some three years ago.