When the story of how Jamaica really became #NewJamaica is told, I’m sure there’ll be a page dealing with the ‘revival’ of Port Royal. I won’t add to my will that some of the royalties (no pun) flowing from the sales of that story need to flow to my estate. However…

I am sure that today more than a few sighs of relief have gone up because the anticipated arrival of a first cruise ship in Port Royal occurred yesterday, and seemingly with few if any major mishaps. I wish all those associated with the project nothing but success and join those who hope that local residents of Port Royal see and play a major part in any success for the town. My other wish is for this to be a sort of ‘wake-up’ call for the many ideas that have languished in the box of unfulfilled blueprints that are strewn over Jamaica. As I noted in a thread this morning on Twitter, Port Royal is emblamatic:

But, the significance of Port Royal and what is happening there is many-layered. Like much that starts off well in Jamaica, the proof will always be in how well will this go on and for how long. That is not to wish failure on any venture; it’s just that we have a poor record of implementation and ‘stickwithitness’. So, let’s hope that day 2 sees progress on day 1. Please, those whose aim in life is to spoil, exploit, harass, destroy, steal or otherwise disrupt positive developments in people’s lives, take a break. What such people never understand is that by ‘killing the golden goose’, they’ve eaten one meal instead of seeing the benefit of letting it get fat, lay some eggs and provide meals for themselves and others for a much longer period; a simple example of ‘beggar my neighbour’ or ‘zero-sum’ thinking that’s so prevalent on this island.

But, I stray, as I’m not really off on a deep dive into the history of Jamaican failure. More simply, I want to put down a marker for all those Jamaicans and visitors who have, despite the lack of real incentive to visit places or do things in places that should have been seen as of major importance, persevered and made their ‘pilgrimage’ and have a memory that was not framed for them in some brochure. So, to all of the friends whom I’ve driven along the Palisadoes Road and stopped at the lighthouse, and walked along the dark grey sand, and peered at the cemetery, and rambled around Fort Charles when the guide said it was closed, and walked in the narrow streets by Gloria’s and looked at the fishing boats and pelicans, and taken a glance inside the Anglican Church, and waited patiently to get their fish meals (never a bad wait, in my experience), and who’ve seen Port Royal in the dark of night, and eaten on the sidewalk, and driven home looking across the harbour at the lights of the city and those of the uptown communities, this is for you. 🙂 You were pioneers, though you did not realize it. If and when you come back, I hope the ambiance is still the same, even if the setting may look much more spruced up.

A dilapidated building, typical of what Port Royal has become, long after buccaneers made it home and filled it with pirated riches

Eating fish at Gloria’s is a must

Raw simplicity is an emblem of Port Royal, but it’s also a sign of a depressed economic location

One my visitors, on an early morning tour of the beach and historic sights