Lighthouse keeper wants more for St Thomas spot

June 01, 2018
Atal Owen believes that the lighthouse at Morant Point could become a tourist attraction.
The sign in Duckenfield, St Thomas, which points persons to the lighthouse at Morant Point.
Atal Owen, lighthouse keeper from St Thomas.

For more than 25 years, Atal Owen has been working as a lighthouse keeper at Morant Point, the most easterly point of the island.

He is tasked with ensuring that the lights in the 115-feet tower in St Thomas are in good working order.

Climbing 60 flights of stairs daily to do routine checks, Owen said that it is important to keep the lights going to ensure that ships are aware that land is close by.

With regular visits from tourists who travel for miles to view the lighthouse and a beach close by, he believes that the Government and other players in the tourism sector should capitalise on the interest in the area.

“Hotel coulda build out yah pon some a di land dem leading to the beach. It woulda bring employment to the parish,” he reasoned.

He noted that there are a lot of idle lands close by where the construction of a hotel could take place.

“If dem drop a hotel and develop the place, it woulda good fi di area. Dem not even haffi use up the whole a di land,” Owen told THE WEEKEND STAR.

With greater interest from the tourism sector, he said that St Thomas would no longer be the ‘forgotten parish.’

Developing the area and marketing it as a must-visit spot for tourists would increase employment, he said.

“A just di sugar factory out yah, so if dem put a hotel nuff a di yute dem weh nuh have nutten fi do woulda get employed,” he told THE WEEKEND STAR.

With several factories closing down in the past, he pointed out that the money coming into the parish through tourism would help to develop the St Thomas' infrastructure.

“Now the parish is underdeveloped cause from yuh come 11 Mile, all a dem factory weh used to employ people, dem close down, from Yallahs come a Morant Bay,” he said.

Owen added that the nearby beach, which used to attract many visitors from the Corporate Area, could add to the tourism offerings and become quite a hit attraction if it gets a little clean-up work. 

“We have a lot a pretty beaches, but this one good. If yuh walk pon the sand alone, the sand well fine and nice, is a good beach. Back inna di days, every weekend, a lot of people from Kingston would come here,” he explained.

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