Jamaica at 60 St Ann

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2022 5 JAMAICA AT 60: ST ANN Keisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer ST ANN’S Bay, despite being the capital of St Ann, continues to lag behind the resort town of Ocho Rios in several areas of development, including job creation and business development. Ocho Rios has taken over as the commercial centre of not just St Ann, but the northern region of Jamaica. As a result, more opportunities are opening up in Ocho Rios. Entrepreneur Desmond Lindo, said St Ann’s Bay doesn’t have the scope to develop, and what has been happening is that some persons in St Ann’s Bay would rather do business in Ocho Rios. A number of factors, he said, has influenced the migration of people to Ocho Rios. “There are numerous employment opportunities in the Ocho Rios area, especially in the tourism sector, as there are several hotels, attractions, shopping plazas, restaurants, and other establishments,” Lindo said. However, St Ann’s Bay as capital, is home to most government offices and agencies, including the Registrar General’s Department, the Inland Revenue Department, the NationalWater Commission and the Jamaica Public Service Company. However, the National HousingTrust was relocated to Ocho Rios some years ago. Lindo believes that both towns can work cohesively with each other and the historical benefits of each town must be maintained. Information from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica shows the growth of the population of the respective towns and how it has shifted over the years. For the period 1982 to 1991, St Ann’s Bay recorded a 19.8 per cent population growth, moving from 7,496 to 8,983. For the same period, Ocho Rios’ growth was sluggish, moving just 3.95 per cent, from 6,618 to 6,880 However, during the following decade, there was a dramatic change in growth pattern that saw Ocho Rios’population outstripping that of the capital. Figures for 2001 show that while the population of St Ann’s Bay grew by 16 . 2 per cent to 10,441, Ocho Rios’ population went into overdrive, spiralling by 129 per cent to stand at 15,769. This is an increase of 8,889 over 10 years, or an average of 2.4 persons moving to Ocho Rios daily for 10 years straight. With the development of the Edward Seaga Highway improving access between Kingston and Ocho Rios, there is also an increase in economic activities between both the town centres of Mammee Bay and Ocho Rios. The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has been moving to sell more land for commercial development of the secondary town to reduce congestion in Ocho Rios. It has placed on the market three lots totalling nearly four acres which it says are ideal for the development of small to medium-size commercial operations subject to the approval of the St Ann Municipal Corporation. The sizes of the UDC lots range from0.68 acre to just over two acres. They are located at the roundabout intersection to the Edward Seaga Highway on the coastal main road from Ocho Rios to Drax Hall at Mammee Bay, immediately across from the entrance to Old Fort Bay which is an upper-income gated seaside community. A UDC spokesperson said the development falls under its plans for designated areas in St Ann, which includes Ocho Rios, Roaring River and Mammee Bay. The development will take place along the route, as the demand for available commercial lands has increased. This divestment of the lots allows the UDC to further support the economic development within St Ann and specifically the Mammee Bay area. Mammee Bay was developed, primarily, as a suburban residential area to support the housing needs of Ocho Rios. It now boasts a mixture of large chain resorts, villas, residential and commercial properties. It is envisioned that the development of the lots will serve the commercial needs of the area and boost employment opportunities for the surrounding communities. keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com St Ann’s Bay continues to lag behind Ochi The famous clock on Main Street in St Ann’s Bay. FILE jamaica at