Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has indicated plans to fully develop the community of Somerton in St. James, where cultural icon Jimmy Cliff was born, as a major tourism attraction.
“The town of Somerton holds the rich cultural history of some of the most celebrated Jamaicans such as former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, former Governor General Sir Howard Cooke’s family, Lennie Little-White, renowned film maker, Ms. Violet Neilson former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Bishop Herro Blair.
Perhaps the most celebrated of all is Grammy award winning singer Jimmy Cliff who still lives in Somerton and even filmed some of his greatest work here. We are excited about this history that has helped to fashion the community and can be positioned and leveraged as a major tourism attraction and generate economic growth,” said Minister Bartlett.
Minister Bartlett made the announcement at the official ground breaking for the Somerton to Fording road rehabilitation project yesterday [March 28, 2019]. The project will see restoration work on the roadway from fording to the Somerton square which will be named the Jimmy Cliff highway. The general scope of work will include road signage, construction of drains and asphaltic concrete repairs and overlay.
“The community needs to now be repositioned, it needs to be reimagined and today represents the start of that reimagining. We are going to doing as series of infrastructure work aimed at preserving the rich cultural history.
We are going to develop a Jimmy Cliff museum and restore the waterfall where Jimmy Cliff frequented. So the aim is to create Somerton as an important tourist attraction around Jimmy Cliff and that will bring pilgrims and fans from all over the world who have been inspired by his accomplishments.”
The community of Somerton in St. James is located eleven miles from Montego Bay, and is known for having birthed and raised a long list of distinguished Jamaicans. The most noted is Dr. the Hon James Chambers, known professionally as Jimmy Cliff. He is a ska and reggae musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and actor. Cliff is one of only two living musicians to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honor that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences.
“I am a son of the soil and I will always be. My house remains in Somerton because this is where I want to be so I welcome these developments and thank everyone who will be a part of it,” said the world renowned singer and actor, Dr. the Hon James ‘Jimmy Cliff’ Chambers.