I have been interested in the port town of Falmouth in Jamaica for the past many years after cruise giant Royal Caribbean convinced Jamaica to invest well over $200,000,000 (U.S.) to accommodate its Oasis class cruise ships,  The project involved the dredging of the port’s waters, the destruction of mangroves, the dislocation of its fishing village, and the changing of traffic routes which I have written in prior blog articles here, here, here and here.

My view is that the port primarily benefits the cruise line. There is virtually no investment in the town of Falmouth Jamaica Cruise Ship PortFalmouth itself. The cruise passengers are bused out of town to shop in Ocho Rios or visit places like Dunns River Falls.    

Two days ago, the Jamaica Gleaner published an article stating that high school students in Trelawny have concluded that Royal Caribbean’s new port facility in Falmouth is not benefiting the "small man."

Students at the William Knibb Memorial High School in Martha Brae, a few south of Falmouth, have studied the new port and, according to the Gleaner, have given the port a "failing grade" in terms of helping the "common man" in Trelawny.

The article below was written by Gleaner writer Barrington Flemming.

I took the photos yesterday when I was in Falmouth visiting clients.    

"The Falmouth Pier in Trelawny, which has been dubbed the new hub of cruise shipping in Jamaica, has been given a failing grade by sixth form students of William Knibb Memorial High School, who are of the view that it is not measuring up to their expectations in terms of benefits to the town.

Tasanica Ellis, one of eight panellists, who discussed the topic Falmouth: Jamaica’s new economic frontier, fact or fiction? during a Gleaner-Island Grill Youth Editors’ Forum at her school, described the US$220-million cruise-shipping pier as a US$220-million "monstrosity" which has failed to bring any real benefit to the small man in the historic Georgian town.

"There is no benefit for the small man," said Ellis. "Everything is either boxed into the pier or is spread elsewhere outside of Falmouth. Only the investors in the pier reap any economic benefits."

Added Ellis: "We do not see any partnerships between the investors in the pier that will include the small man and allow for him to get any benefit."

Ellis went on to argue that more could be done to help retain the visitors in the town by developing new attractions and employing more people directly.

"They could develop the Burwood Beach and make it into a proper attraction that could see people gaining employment," said Ellis. "They could open a restaurant offering authentic Jamaican food and drink so the people would be inclined to stay here. Most of the cruise-ship visitors, who come to Falmouth, leave to Montego Bay (St James) or Ocho Rios (St Ann) to enjoy the attractions in those towns."

Lack of Development

Nastascia Gossel, another of the panelists, decried the lack of development in the town while arguing that no provisions have been made to cause any benefit to trickle down to the general populace.

"When we look at Falmouth, it is a total disaster; the small businesses are not seeing any of the benefits that were promised from the development of the cruise-ship pier," argued Gossel. "The drainage system is seriously lacking; to be quite frank, Falmouth has hardly been developed over the past two years."

For Orlando Dowlatt, while the national coffers have benefited from foreign-exchange earnings, the "common man" in Trelawny has been left out of the equation.

"We are seeing that the pier has spurred some economic growth as the country on a whole has been benefiting from the foreign-exchange but for the common man, there is absolutely nothing," Dowlett contended.

The general consensus from the youth was that the pier, while offering economic benefits for the country as a whole, the "trickle down" effect was lacking as the town of Falmouth itself was not feeling the impact of the pier as was promulgated by the Government."


Falmouth Jamaica Royal Caribbean Cruise Port

  • anon

    never under estimate youngsters…. They are often more awake than people in very powerful positions….

  • Jamaican who likes Falmouth

    This is nonsense…. I know there is an agenda but at least be fair. It seems to be very selective in who it quotes or where it seems to gather its information. 3 Million US Dollars was invested in the Town… and more is planned… the Jamaican Government did not Spend the 200 million on the project that is quoted… part of that figure includes many millions invested by RCL…. The result of the port being built is Jamaica became the fastest growing cruise destination in the world… and wonder where all those passengers go when they are there and how they get there…. they dont sit down on dockside as nice as it is… you need to look at the local investment in attractions and transportation that are reaping benefits. Why don’t you interview local companies like Chukka Caribbean and ask them why they and other local companies are investing the millions they are in the Falmouth area… hmmm

  • The previous comment argued on the benefit to local companies like Chukka caribbean. That is not the ‘small man.’ The small man is the ‘Average Joe’ who does not have the big bucks to invest in large attractions like Chukka Caribbean.

    I have lived here all my life. In fact, I am the founder of a local website Falmouth Jamaica. I can tell you that the pier is a big disappointment for the ‘small man.’ I have written several articles about it on Falmouth Jamaica. Unfortunately, much of the problem lies in the same local Jamaicans. If their attitudes were different, maybe there would be more visitors walking the town of Falmouth.

  • Stir Fry

    That is unfortunate the local people but having traveled to Jamaica four times, the behavior of some vendors is relentless. Multiple encounters of this type make for a very unpleasant vacation and it’s barely possible to walk for more than a few seconds before being approached or summoned by a vendor. In January, I was cursed out by an old man for not buying a straw hat. These are probably the reasons the cruise ships are corralling passengers and carting them off inside the gates. Few people would willingly put themselves in a crowd of vendors behaving this was and where there is also risk of theft and pickpocketing.

    With the IMF austerity measures in place that failed miserably in Europe, the country is in a critical state and the people are worried. The price of petroleum went up today and my good friend of several years no longer sells eggs stating that no one has the money to buy even one egg.