BUNKER’S HILL, Trelawny
THE venture is yet to be completed, but already Bunker’s Hill residents are upbeat about the benefits to be derived from the community’s newest and unique attraction — the Bunker’s Hill Cultural X-perience and River Tour.
The attraction which lies close to the Bunker’s Hill/Dromilly border in Trelawny, features a botanical garden, cascading waterfalls and a huge cave, believed to be used as a hideout by chief of the Maroons Cudjoe, and his followers in the 18th century.
An office, a gift shop, a reception area, and a kitchen, which serves up mouth-watering dishes and delicious juices, are also located on the lush property.
Clover Gordon, a resident of Adelphi, St James, who operates the attraction, describes the start-up of the project as “a divine intervention”.
“I didn’t even know Bunker’s Hill, but after three days of fasting in 2012 I was told through divine intervention that ‘what I have to give you now is not limited to Jamaica, but it is for the world’. Then I was told ‘Vivienne rivers’. So I went in search of all the Viviennes I know, and then I remembered that the name of my driver’s girlfriend is Vivienne, and I remembered too that she said that her mother has a property with a river in Bunker’s Hill,” Gordon told the Jamaica Observer West.
“The voice also said build thatch roof, look about traditional Jamaican food, you are going to get tourists, no alcoholic beverage must be served where you are, and everything must be natural, even the food… so I am going by that order,” Gordon added.
Gordon said after making contact with Viviene, she and her husband, Obrian, visited the property and were “very impressed with its potential”.
Work began on the site a year later.
Since then, the attraction has welcomed hundreds of visitors.
Gordon noted that last August, an ’emancipation celebration function’ was held at the property, which had more than 300 persons in attendance, including Member of Parliament for the area Patrick Atkinson and Falmouth Mayor Garth Wilkinson.
Gordon pointed out that she is now working closely with dance groups from the Wakefield and the nearby Deeside Cultural youth group, as part of her efforts to bring traditional music and dances to the attraction.
She told the Observer West that several approvals from various government entities are now being sought, as part of plans to have the attraction properly licensed.
“Right now I have my licence from the Companies Office of Jamaica, (Registrar of Companies), and I am now going through NEPA [National Environmental Planning Agency], persons are soon to go on the swift water certification course, and we are now doing training through TPDCo’s Team Jamaica… as well as all the other relevant authorities,” she explained.
Arguing that the project is 85 per cent completed, Gordon said the plan is to have the attraction officially opened on Emancipation Day in August.
There are currently 10 persons employed at the attraction, but Gordon is confident that when it is fully up and running, anywhere between 25 and 30 persons will be employed.
Doveton Barnett, a resident of Bunker’s Hill, believes that the attraction will provide much-needed jobs for the community.
“It is a good upliftment for the community. It will provide jobs. We really hope that we will get a good growth in jobs that we need here so badly,” he stressed.
But, Ameika Gray, another resident, who is also grateful for the opening of the attraction in the community, however, expressed concerns about the poor road conditions in the area.
“The attraction is nice, it is virgin, which makes it very appealing, but both roads leading to the attraction are in a deplorable state and that is going to be one of the biggest setbacks for the attraction,” she argued.
For Charles McKenzie, another Bunker’s Hill resident, the attraction is a hidden treasure.
“It is a unique project that I know the community can benefit greatly from,” he told the Observer West.
“There are a lot of carvers in the community who will be able to benefit immediately from the project once it gets going fully. There are a lot of farmers too who can sell their produce to the attraction as well as the large numbers of visitors who are expected to visit it,” he said.