EXCLUSIVE: Pennicook says ‘almost 100 percent back to business’

Ben Kilbey in LondonIt would appear that the worst effected areas in Jamaica following the destructive impact of Hurricane Ivan are Negril, with the West End in particular, and South Coast and Treasure Beach. Reports suggest that Jakes has lost three cottages but should have its famed restaurant Jack Sprats open by the end of the week.Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook indicated that he had spoken with Jakes owner Mr. Jason Henzell who had said that it is bad “but it could have been a lot worse.”

“In terms of tourism we are almost 100 percent back to normal. There is still some flooding on the roads - with the worst being at the East End. Yet as days go by things are getting better and better.” The tourism infrastructure is suggested to be almost back to normal with both International airports being fully operational and all of the major carriers offering their complete service.

It was a sure sign that things were getting ‘back to business’ as yesterday Montego Bay welcomed a Princess cruise ship and Ocho Rios welcomed a Royal Caribbean vessel.

“This is a good sign for Jamaica’s tourism as the cruise lines send in their own ground team to see if conditions are acceptable for passengers to come ashore.” Said Pennicook.

Despite the damage inflicted to Negril Mr. Pennicook stated that, “nothing has been decimated, in other words not one building has been wiped out.”

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Country Negril Manager, located on the famous beach said of Ivan, “Our beach was eroded a little but be in no doubt it is still long and very nice. Hotels all made it through in good shape as well.”

Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook had a message for his Caribbean neighbours who were not so fortunate as Jamaica, “We empathise with our brothers and sisters on Cayman and Grenada. We were lucky to be spared.”

There was no news of how many Jamaicans were left homeless by the vicious storm, although it is hoped that this information will be available by the beginning of next week.
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