MONTEGO BAY — The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will be moving to upgrade and refurbish the Roaring River attraction in Westmoreland.
Making the announcement during a tour of the attraction on Friday (July 27), portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said that the facility cannot remain in its current rundown condition.
He said the attraction, with its natural cave, lagoon and mineral spring, is of great importance to the tourism product and must operate at a standard where it can deliver economic benefits to the people in the area. "We are not benefiting from it in the way that we should be benefiting; we have to do something about it," he stated.
The Tourism Minister stated that once "we are able to open it up and bring it to the level that it can be, it is going to attract more visitors. There is going to be economic (spinoffs) and more people can benefit".
"We have done it at Lover’s Leap," he said, which was reopened earlier this year, "and we are going to let it happen here."
For his part, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland, Hon. Roger Clarke, said investment is the facility that will help the community to expand the tourist trade in the area.
He told the residents that while not all of them will be able to work at the attraction, they can benefit by offering services through different business ventures.
"We believe that within this area this facility can make a great contribution to the development of the area, and a contribution to the economy of Jamaica.
"What we need to happen, we need a level of investment in the infrastructure. Proper management is of the utmost, everybody can’t be in charge, and whoever is in charge must be accountable; so systems will have to be in place to ensure accountability," Mr. Clarke said.
Personnel from the TEF and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) were also on the tour.
Once a popular attraction with both local and international visitors, Roaring River runs underground before appearing near the mouth of a gigantic cave, which is a series of limestone caverns, with a small mineral spring inside. There is also a freshwater sinkhole where visitors can swim, and a landscaped private garden.