JIS News

Restoration work, valued at some $72 million, is on-going at Fort Charles and the Historic Naval Hospital at the Port Royal National Heritage Site.
The project is being financed under the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), with assistance from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.
Executive Director of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), Laleta Davis-Mattis, said that the Trust has been working “assiduously” to complete renovations at the site.
“In fact if you visit the Fort today, you will recognize that quite a bit of restoration work has been conducted,” she said.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank Session held Wednesday (October 14) at the Agency’s head office in Kingston, Mrs. Davis-Mattis said that the tour experience at the site has been expanded, and now includes a re-installed exhibition, a town tour and a multi-media centre at the Historic Naval Hospital.
She said the JNHT has produced a DVD highlighting the history of Port Royal, which is also shown at the centre and forms part of the tour.
“For Port Royal we have been focusing on the work, and the plan at this point is to build the foundation for investment to come into Port Royal,” she explained.
Giving details of the work being undertaken at the Port Royal site, Director of the Estate Management and Business Development Division at the JNHT, Gavern Tate, said funds from CHASE have been used to improve the grounds.
“We have been trying to manage access to the site, so what we have done is to erect a guard tower to bring back the feeling of a military base,” he said.
Additionally, restoration work has been completed on the quarter deck, from which soldiers looked out to the sea.
He noted, too, that reinforcement work at the “Giddy” House, royal artillery store built in 1888, have started and “some measures have been put in place to prevent the structure from sinking. The gun batteries, which were overgrown with vegetation, have now been cleared and a maintenance programme put in place.
“The whole experience of the Fort has been changed, so when you go there now you get the feeling of what it would have been like to serve in the British military,” he said.
Another major component of the project, Mr. Tate said, was the re-roofing and restoration of the Naval Hospital, which will cost the organisation “quite a bit of money.”
“We are hoping that we would get investors and encourage other private persons to pool their funds to undertake this project,” he added. Currently, a seawall which protects the Naval Hospital is being rebuilt.

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