The Trench Town community is set to benefit from major upgrades done to the Vin Lawrence Park. Located across the noteworthy Trench Town Culture Yard, the longstanding park was renovated at a cost of $39.7 million dollars, courtesy of the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo).
Speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony on February 12th, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett highlighted the significance of Trench Town’s contribution to cultural enhancement through music as well as the importance of an inclusive and culturally rich tourism product.
“This country is steeped in historical legacy and culture which is a pull factor for many demographics. However, many times over, I have mentioned that the new type of traveller seeks more to their visit, than the typical resort experience. These “backpack” type visitors make “spur of the moment” plans and wish to be enlightened, educated and to immerse themselves in the culture of the destination.”
He went on to say that diversifying the tourism product will ensure that the destination remains resilient. This, he mentioned is achieved through having a product that includes its noteworthy culture.
“We have been consistent in our efforts at diversifying the tourism product to appeal to the various interests of our visitors. Culture is one such component that gives this destination leverage and competitive and comparative advantage. Right here in Kingston, unknown to many, is a cultural hotspot and diverse location. We share in the responsibility of reviving the resort area and shifting the perspective from it being just a business hub.”
Minister Bartlett, through projects such as these, indicated that the sector will be going through a period of “resetting” the product to ensure that citizens benefit from all improvements, particularly at the community level.
“As a destination, we have also realized the importance of adapting to the times. We are digging deep to see how best we can respond to the changes by listening to the people and finding out how best to cater to their needs. As such, we have been robust in our attempts at developing community tourism, and through the Spruce Up ‘Pon Di Corna” programme, we have been able to contribute to the development of local communities.”
Adding to the importance of community development, Acting Executive Director of TPDCo, Stephen Edwards stated, “We at TPDCo understand that one of our major stakeholders is always the community. That is why the Trench Town Community has been involved in this project from concept to completion. There can be no doubt that it was the support of the community and the hard work of the TPDCo team that resulted in this project, in the midst of a global pandemic, being completed on-time and under budget. ”
Endorsements came from Member of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding and president of the Trench Town Development Association Phillip Weis who underscored the importance of the facility to the community and Kingston’s tourism product.
The Vin Lawrence Park was upgraded to include seven formal vendor stalls and the construction of a new perimeter fence and sidewalk along the southern boundary of First street. It is envisioned that the upgrades will enhance the ambience of First Street and in particular the world-famous Trench Town Culture Yard, a national heritage site, which was home to Bob Marley in his early life.