BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at- Large, Western Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has offered to assist the St James Parish Council in the preservation and maintenance of the historic Dome in Montego Bay.
TEF's offer came shortly after a story published in last week Thursday's edition of the Observer West which highlighted the neglect of the structure, declared a National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
"The Tourism Enhancement Fund has noted the article in today's (last week) Western Edition of the Observer, in which the (Montego Bay) Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for restorative work to be done to the Dome in Montego Bay and has reached out to the Parish Council to assist," executive director of the TEF Clyde Harrison said.
He argued that a key facet of the TEF's remit is to assist with the restoration, preservation and maintenance of Jamaica's heritage sites and "this matter attracted our attention."
"We have therefore reached out to the Parish Council and expressed our willingness to be of assistance in restoring this important monument," Harrison added.
The Dome was erected in 1837 and is located at the intersection of the city's Creek Street and Dome Street. It was created to protect the head of the creek which fed the town's early central water supply system and became a major source of water for the area until 1894. Much later, and up to the late 1960s the Dome provided an emergency source of water to householders in the area.
But inspite of its historic value, the landmark has been allowed to fall into disrepair.
Last week, President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Davon Crump harshly criticised the St James Parish Council for the deplorable state of the monument, as he urged the local authority to rehabilitate and preserve the landmark.
Meanwhile, Suzette Brown who chairs the Civic and Community Affairs committee at the St James Parish Council has lauded the TEF for its planned assistance in rehabilitating the national monument.
" The committee welcome the move by the TEF. The Dome is a part of our heritage and should be preserved," said Brown, who is also the councillor for the Montego Bay South Division, in which the landmark falls.
She pledged to put the necessary measures in place to preserve the monument after it is restored.
"We will definitely play a greater role in protecting the country's investment as we would not want the monument to go back to the state it was in," said Brown.