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Authorities blame transport operators for tourist harassment in Falmouth

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Representatives of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Port Authority of Jamaica and the Trelawny Municipal Corporation are to meet later this week in the wake of the decision by three cruise vessels to stop calling at the historic Falmouth Port, due to alleged harassment of cruise passengers.

“We would have met with them (tour operators) as far back as 2015 and the problems still exist with the tour operators. So we going to have a meeting sometime this week to see how the problem can be addressed,” said Clive Blair, the commanding officer for the Trelawny Police Division, as he expressed grave concern over the aggressive approach of ground transportation operators, who solicit passengers disembarking cruise vessels at the port.

“When they come (cruise passengers) off and come along Seaboard Street there is a rush (by the tour operators) literally to solicit passengers and it turns off the visitors sometime. Some of them (passengers) just return to the port. So that is one of the things we looking at. That is our number one area of concern,” Superintendent Blair told the Jamaica Observer West.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett also noted that indiscipline among ground transportation operators at the port must be urgently addressed.

“But the discipline also of our transportation sector there (Falmouth Port) has to be dealt with,” Bartlett stressed.

“Harassment is an issue that has to be dealt with and it is a problem that we have at all ports in Jamaica. I do not elevate harassment higher than it should be, but it is a matter that must be dealt with,” the tourism minister noted.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) has not included Falmouth calls for its new vessel, Symphony of the Seas, and will be temporarily repositioning Allure of the Seas after April 2018, with it returning, December 2018.

The tourism minister explained that it is normal for cruise lines to review their itineraries periodically and that he has been assured by RCCL that the ships will return to Falmouth.

He noted that projections for cruise arrivals for this year will not be impacted by the withdrawals.

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