Managers of Jamaica's delayed Port Royal Development Project expect
to begin construction by year-end on a cruise ship pier central to the restoration of the one-time "wickedest city on earth." Originally dubbed the Millennium Plan, it was to have been ready to receive cruise ships in June 2000, but was thrown off target by logistic difficulties. Construction is now scheduled to begin in late 2000. The developers need to raise $60 million for the first phase of the project, which will include construction of restaurants, museums and shopping facilities on the Peninsular, near the Norman Manley International Airport
Phases two and three could take the cost up to $200 million.
Despite the delay, the Jamaican government
has taken a deeper interest in the project, using the Urban Development Corporation
(UDC) to inject new life into the plan, government spokeswoman Maxine Henry Wilson said
. The project is one of a several major development plans that the government is leading or lending support to in its effort to kick-start the stagnant economy and fuel long-term economic growth. The prime minister recently announced plans for a major highway network
to open up the interior of the island and spur development of light industry and tourism projects along its span. He also disclosed plans for an air cargo transshipment facility on Jamaica's south coast, along with several tourism and information technology projects