Tourism: Destroying Ocho Rios’s Share

There was a time I recall when the Caribbean was one of the most exciting places to visit as a guest; the ambiance was perfect; the people were unspoilt and friendly. The town of Ocho Rios for instance was considered a jewel amongst the islands and the lives of people were refreshed.

Competition is always there by sea and air; if there were no competition, there would be no changes, improvements, or growth, and I suspect little improvement in visiting guests. Montego Bay was next in order of growth, and Montego was greater in order of growth by Conventions, Hotels and airlines;  Inherent in any aspect of growth was expanding  in space, attractions and amenities, and for a while even  up to the present, the completion was keen, but the tourism was not comparable to major pier expansion.

Then some bright eyed, bushy tailed, politically inclined business persons, decided to split up the gold north coast by adding a major pier expansion in Falmouth, making a shopping pier exclusive to the ships at the pier, leaving visitors in and business minded Jamaicans out; somehow believing one would exist in isolation from the other, whatever the reasons: So that resulted in little infrastructure growth; so Falmouth became a getty to its pier.

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With doctors, lawyers, bankers and other professionals being virtually told: “Look we shall get our technological support elsewhere or via sea cruise ship and from our own resources.”


 If this, was the total problem. It would not be insoluble. But all of Ocho Rios’s problems have been left behind to gather as garbage in Ocho Rios, and referred as inadequate. After three years of disorganization and political dis-favour, Ocho Rios has been called the dirtiest town in Jamaica, and other tourism slanted places are slowly taking away its prime space.

Tourism harassment which is one of Ochi’s main problems, is caused by Ochi’s history of liveable accommodation, housing  most of the skilled tourism workers in St. Ann and adjacent properties. This now becomes a skills over area problem.  It is more expensive to rent in other outside areas of Ochi which is a formidable hub for transportation, housing, and   medical  services.

Then we look at the situation in Falmouth with its new pier, and enclosed shopping area. What has been achieved by political soccer is a separation of shopping business in an extremely biased manner.

The Government gets the property developed by the shipping line, which gets the rentals and franchises from the merchants. All the stores get is the retail business they accrue from their sales when all expenses are paid. As an example, most if not all the business persons live in Ocho Rios enjoy a lower cost of living while working in more a more lucrative shopping centre

   It seems that that consumption has come about by a resumption of disorder in the system.  First, no one quite realized that The Police do not recognize the extent of traffic violations:  Breaking Stop signs and lights have become ignored, especially near schools, not wearing seat belts, poor signalling across lanes. The resurgence of hustlers, pimps and touts is once again evident, increasing threats of violence to the tourists.

Most Carnival Cruise ships have opted to go to Falmouth, or Montego Bay, leaving Ocho Rios’s shipping cruises’ and traffic. That goes to Hanover, and Falmouth, leaving Ocho Rios to a poorly built pier expansion.  Do we sell the property and its potential  to an  investor like the Mexican Entrepreneur? Or perhaps Minister McNeil should buy it as a souvenir to remember that his legacy was the destruction of Ocho Rios’ resurging business.

Se we are now asking, what has happened to Carnival’s commitments for sufficient passengers? Are we still going ahead with the Shopping centre, behind the cinema? Or must Ochi start over again, giving its efforts to some other Political ill-thought venture?


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