The plan to transform the 85-year-old Workers Park in Frome, Westmoreland, into a tourist attraction could become a reality if the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) can be convinced that it is a potentially sustainable venture.
Dr Carey Wallace, executive director of the TEF, said those who are contemplating such a project need to put forward a specific proposal, including the plans to ensure sustainability, to the TEF for consideration.
The Workers Park was the scene of the 1938 uprising, when sugar workers affiliated with the Frome Sugar Factory staged a mammoth protest over low wages and other unacceptable working conditions. This monumental moment in Jamaica’s history is believed to have created the scope for the birth of Jamaica’s trade union movement.
Wallace believes that making the location and the general surrounding a tourist destination might be a workable idea, based on the Government’s bid to create more attractions across the island, but he said certain conditions would have to be factored in to make it feasible.
“With Airbnb, there are more travellers coming to Jamaica, so we are open to adding more attractions to our destination; but it has to be done in a systematic way, so that our board can be confident that these projects are appraised properly when they make the decision to spend,” said Wallace.
He was responding to a call by Councillor Rudolph Uter, who represents the Frome division in the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, to have the Workers Park, which holds much significance in Jamaica’s history, including creating a platform for National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante to emerge as a champion for the working class.
According to Uter, too many Jamaicans are uninformed about the sacrifices made 85 years ago to develop the framework for labour rights, which cover minimum pay for a 40-hour workweek.
Uter said he has already contacted persons in two agencies aligned with the Ministry of Tourism, and recently had dialogue with Prime Minister Andrew Holness about it during a visit he made to Westmoreland.
“I am in discussion with the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Tourism Product Development Company to have the Workers Park improved,” said Uter. “One of the objectives is to build a leisure area with a Devon House Ice Cream business model, so that people from all over the parish may visit there with their families and spend quality time learning about the incident that inspired the park’s construction.”
Said Uter: “We want to transform it (Workers Park) into an attraction, so that people may visit the area.”
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