Ownership fight threatens Portland Jerk Festival

Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 in Blog, Festivals/Events, Jamaican Food, Jamaican jerk, Jamaican Music, Port Antonio Jamaica, Portland Jamaica, Portland Jerk Festival | 0 comments

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Ownership fight threatens Portland Jerk Festival

PNP MP at centre of row - Investors want to recoup their money: THE $10-million loss suffered by the popular Portland Jerk Festival is the bone of contention in a bitter ownership dispute that is threatening the ninth staging of the popular food fest this year.

Thousands of Jamaicans make the annual trek to the idyllic eastern parish for a day of fun, frolic and food, featuring a wide variety of succulent jerk dishes, with the famous Boston jerk pork occupying centrestage.

But a demand by the Portland Parish Development Committee (PDC) that ownership of the festival be handed to them by People's National Party (PNP) member of parliament, Dr Donald Rhodd -- as he had promised while his party was in power -- has reached stalemate.

The combatants involve the PDC; Daryl Vaz, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member of parliament for West Portland; Dr Rhodd, the MP for East Portland; investors in the loss-making festival; and the 21st Century 20/20 Vision Foundation established by Rhodd and current owners of the festival.

"If the matter is not settled this year, I will take action to force them to come to a resolution," Vaz threatened in an interview with the Sunday Observer.

He made it clear that the Folly property in eastern Portland, regarded as the only suitable venue for an event of that magnitude, might not be available to the festival organisers. Folly -- on which sits the ruins of a mansion built by a rich American man in 1905 -- is leased by the State-run Tourism Product Development Company.

Rhodd, who has since washed his hands of the whole matter, at least publicly, insists that the private investors... (read more at Portland JA Parish Portal.)

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