A lack of investments in tourism, the relocation of government services and poor public sanitation, are some of the things that the East Portland business community expect to be addressed by their next member of parliament.
A by-election in East Portland seat tomorrow (April 4) will determine who will be the next MP.
The election is being contested by the Jamaica Labour Party’s Ann Marie Vaz and the People’s National Party candidate Damion Crawford.
Vice President of the Portland Chamber of Commerce, Desmond Gouldbourne, says while both candidates have expressed intent to re-ignite the tourism sector through cruise shipping, the current pier will not be able to accommodate large ships.
Mr. Gouldbourne notes that the Ken Wright cruise ship pier in Port Antonio’s west harbour only accommodates small boutique ships that carry up to 500 people.
Mr. Gouldbourne says efforts must be made to engage the tourism stakeholders in the parish.
Among initiatives he would like to see undertaken is the re-opening of the Dragon Bay Hotel in Port Antonio.
In January 2017, government had announced a 100 million u-s dollar renovation programme for the hotel, stating that it would be re-opened some time this year. However, plans to build more cottages have not materialized.
The Dragon Bay Hotel has been closed since 2004.
In the meantime, the Portland Chamber of Commerce VP says he would like to see the return of critical government services to the parish.
Mr. Gouldbourne adds that garbage collection in the parish is also lacking.
He says farmers in the constituency, especially those in the Rio Grande area, would love to see more emphasis being placed on farming.
Meantime the chamber official says tomorrow’s by-election and the filming of the 25th instalment of the James Bond Film Franchise in Portland, have led to a boom in business in Port Antonio.