Agreement for a New Ocho Rios Fishing Village
A major Tripartite Agreement was signed this afternoon, Friday November 27,2015, between the The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Sailor’s Hole Fisherman Benevolent Society. The agreement paves the way for total transformation of the Ocho Rios Fishing Village.
The UDC, which is the registered proprietors of the land on which the Fishing Village is located, granted rights of occupation to fisher-folk in 1975 as part of an agreement to locate them from lands elsewhere along the Ocho Rios shoreline.
The agreement signed today transfers these lands to the PAJ which will undertake major re-development offering upscale facilities and right of access to the fisher-folk to a modern fishing bay tourism environment.
As part of the agreement, all the current occupants of the Village will be compensated for their stake in the area in a package totalling some $75 Million dollars. It guarantees access to the beach for fishermen in perpetuity. Sixteen of the persons with structural holdings will be accommodated in the new development by way of leases in the re-developed site. These include sixteen large restaurants and smaller facilities.
The new complex to be constructed by the PAJ will include a jetty for storage of fishing boats, cold storage for their catch, lockers for storage, facilities for the scaling and gutting of fish and disposal of water used in the process, facilities for vending fish and sanitary conveniences.
The facilities, which will be comparable to other modern facilities in the Region, is expected to significantly boost the tourism prospects for Ocho Rios, which has declined as a major port of call in the Caribbean for cruise shipping lines.
It is hoped that the re-fashioning of the Fishing Village will help to re-establish Ocho Rios as a premier port of call and bring needed foreign exchange earnings to the fishing community and the town of Ocho Rios as a whole.
Signing on behalf of the UDC, Chairman, Senator the Hon. K.D. Knight, OJ hailed the agreement as a partnership that would benefit all the stakeholder. He described it as a great step forward in the established mandate to redevelop the area.
President of the Sailor”s Hole Fishermen Benevolent Society, Mr. Orville Grant welcomed the initiative which he said would better the lives of the fisher-folk and help to fulfil their dreams. He expressed the hope that all concerned would live up to their commitment.
PAJ Senior Vice President, Mervis Edgehill noted the long journey that has led to Agreement. He said it was a win-win situation for all concerned and one which marked the beginning of another stage of the important process of upgrading.
Following today’s signing, an official function will shortly be held in Ocho Rios to mark the proposed development and the impact it will have for the various stakeholders and the town of Ocho Rios.