KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The sunken section of Port Royal, dubbed
"Pompeii in the Caribbean," came a step closer to becoming a
tourism attraction and cruise ship port here after the Jamaican
government approved a $58.6 million development plan.
Robert Stephens, managing director of Port Royal Development Co.
Limited, said the government approval enables the company to
finalize a financing agreement for the project, which could be
completed by June 2000.
Port Royal was the most vibrant trading capital and pirate
headquarters of the late 17th century before an earthquake sunk
two-thirds of the city in 1692. Once known as the "richest and
wickedest city in the world," Port Royal is now the focus of a plan
to develop it as an attraction similar to Williamsburg in
The plan includes museums, shops, taverns, restaurants, theaters
and an underwater structure that would enable visitors to view the
sunken section of the city.
Dr. Paul Robertson, Jamaica's minister of industry and
investment, confirmed the approval, the PRDCL said.
The government is expected to invest $1.6 million and Port Royal
Environment Management Trust is to raise another $2 million from
donor agencies, which leaves $55 million to be raised by PRDCL.
Potential investors include the National Investment Bank of
Jamaica, Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development
Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the Commonwealth
Development Corp., in addition to other local and overseas private
investors, according to the PRDCL.
Stephens said he is "talking to cruise lines" that have
"indicated interest in developing port calls, which is a positive
Environmental Impact Assessment Studies are to begin
Construction is expected to begin in the third or fourth quarter
of 1998 with cruise ships expected by June 2000 at the end of Phase
Port Royal is expected to attract about 5,000 cruise ship
passengers daily, which would generate about $125 million annually
in tourism revenue, according to PRDCL.