Holness says Catherine Hall must facilitate entertainment industry
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is looking to develop the site of the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay, St James.
Holness was speaking to journalists during a tour of the Closed Harbour Beach Park site in the parish on Wednesday (December 4).
The prime minister said that the Catherine Hall site, which is the venue of the island’s renowned international music festival, Reggae Sumfest, is another expanse of land in the parish that has critical value, “but its traditional use is for entertainment, so we have to look very carefully at how it is used, to ensure that it is developed as a public space but also as a space that facilitates the entertainment industry as a whole”.
“So, there could be things like a reggae museum, and an open park space with a boardwalk that connects the Closed Harbour Beach Park, which will really create a space which can pull the public from the inner city of the town to have a more relaxing space, a space where people can contemplate, relieve their stress and interact with each other,” Holness said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said that the Closed Harbour Beach Park development, when completed, will contribute to the elevation of persons living in Montego Bay and its environs.
“It will also be of significant tourism value, as it will provide an option for persons to come out of the all-inclusive [resorts] and feel free to walk around and engage with the environment, both natural and built,” he noted.
As part of the project, a 16-acre property, formerly known as Dump Up Beach, is being transformed into a world-class recreational space with amenities that will be operated as free access licensed public beach and multipurpose park.
There are also plans to widen the sidewalk and install new perimeter fencing along Gloucester Avenue and Howard Cooke Boulevard.
The park will feature soft and hard landscaping, a jogging trail, an outdoor amphitheatre, multipurpose courts, a children’s play area, food kiosks, a boardwalk and other amenities.
This project forms part of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Montego Bay Redevelopment Programme.
The Prime Minister lauded the agency for the progress being made with the project.
“I want to commend the UDC for ensuring that this project has started well and remains on track, and for ensuring that the project remains within budget and on time…and we want to keep it that way,” Holness said.
“It is a legacy project for the UDC and, so far, from what I have seen, I am satisfied and I am sure when it is completed, the people of Montego Bay will be more than satisfied with what we have managed to accomplish here,” he added.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, told JIS News that he is very pleased with the pace at which work on the project is being done, and he is hoping that it will be ready by the end of 2020.
For his part, Chairman of the UDC, Senator Ransford Braham, thanked the Government, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Minister Bartlett and Central Government for “assisting us in the development of this project”.
“We have shown that we can still do it and we have more [projects] that we would like to achieve in the near future,” he said.
Also on the tour were Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang; Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis; Executive Director of TEF, Dr Carey Wallace; Government officials and members of the Montego Bay business community.
The Closed Harbour Beach Project is being funded by the TEF and the Government at a cost of $1.2 billion. The project is expected to be completed by November 2020.