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Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, today (November 7), signed a US$224M contract with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), to modernise the cruise shipping pier in Falmouth, Trelawny.
Under the contract, US$122M will be utilised for harbour dredging and to build the facilities for ships to dock. The other US$102M will be used by RCCL to lease land from the Government, for the construction of all infrastructural development. The facility is due to receive the largest ship in the world come May 2010.
Signing took place this afternoon (Nov 7), at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston.
In his address, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the Ministries of Transport, Tourism and the Port Authority, noting that the project had reached this stage after many years of hard work.
“This will be the catalyst, the driving force behind redevelopment of Falmouth. Already, Royal Caribbean is guaranteeing 400,000 cruise ship visitors per year, over the next four years,” Mr. Golding disclosed.
The Prime Minister noted that this project is a part of a larger strategic development to expand tourism. “There is an urgency to expand port facilities in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, and these developments are sensitive to technology and what may have sufficed for the last ten or fifteen years will not cut it for the next.”
The Prime Minister also said that the Cabinet expected to receive bills on casino gambling to be presented to Parliament by the end of November. Falmouth Pier would present an opportunity for two licensees.
Minister of Transport, Mike Henry, in his address at the signing ceremony, said that expansion was necessary as RCCL is interested in further expansion in Jamaica, if the facilities are put in place.
“The company would like to have Jamaica as a port of call for the first six of these vessels which would carry some 6,000 passengers and a crew complement of 2,000 resulting in a total of some 8,000 persons.none of Jamaica’s existing cruise ports could accommodate such a vessel,” the Minister pointed out.
President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Adam Goldstein said although the ship was a modern marvel, Falmouth, presented an excellent opportunity as a cruise shipping port like no other, as it will allow the visitors to experience the history and culture of the Caribbean in an attractive way.”
When completed, the pier will accommodate two Genesis-classes RCCL cruise ships, including what will be the world’s largest ship, the Oasis of the Sea. The project is expected to generate 700 regular jobs in the construction phase.