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Negril, Jamaica

Negril, Jamaica is considered to be Jamaica's major beach resort area on the island's west coast. Negril extends from the nineteenth-century Negril Lighthouse located on the rocky coastline in the parish of Westmoreland in the south, to Bloody Bay and the end of Negril's famous seven mile beautiful sandy beach in Hanover Parish in the north.

Today Negril is a very popular community that has grown rapidly in recent years. It is said, that the first tourists or visitors came to Negril in February of 1952. This story, the "History of Negril's Tourism" written by a Negril resident of many years is included herein. In the early 1960s, new roads and drainage canals were built, and Negril was 'discovered' by the hippies who set up a colony. Their easy going "No Problem Mon" attitude remains today throughout the Negril. Negril's Resort development is carefully controlled, and by law, no building is allowed to be higher than the tallest palm tree. Negril is know for the West End's rocky cliffs and its seven miles of beautiful beaches. Of course, the Caribbean waters offer world-class diving and a wide variety of water sports activities such as: Parasailing, scenic catamaran daytime and sunset cruises, water skiing, windsurfing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, glass bottom boats, and jet skiing.

History of Negril's Tourism by Ronald H. Arthurs

History of Negril's Tourism by Ronald H Arthurs - Negril Travel Guide - Negril, Jamaica WI - - -
Ronald H. Arthurs at Arthur's Beach Restaurant and Bar

Negril was a small fishing village. There were a few small grocery shops, two small Bakeries, one Post Office, one All Age School and a Police Station managed by a single Policeman.

The men of Negril would go out and fish for a living. They would normally sell the fish to Higglers coming down from various districts near by such as: Mount Airy, Good Hope, Sheffield and even as far as Orange Hill and Little London.

At that time there were lots of Coconuts growing on the Beach section of Negril, the women use the Coconuts to boil coconut oil and sell to the Higglers who were coming to buy fish and take to the markets.

One day Ferdinand Arthurs, who was also a fisherman went out with some other fishermen to draw a fishing net, and one of the men started using indecent language and Ferdinand Arthurs told the man about his behaviour and he continued. Ferdinand told the man that so help him God, he would not come back to sea with him to draw any net.

Ferdinand Arthurs came from sea, drew up his canoe on the beach put it on a section of his property and used a coconut limb to cover it, after which he started cleaning up the beach, on a section of his property adjoining the beach. He then used Bamboo and coconut limbs to make small changing rooms. These rooms were very neat; he also planted flowers and Almond trees, the flowers for decoration and the trees for shading. Ferdinand dug a hole at the back of the property and from this hole he would receive fresh water.

Whenever Ferdinand spoke of bringing Tourism to Negril people thought he was crazy, somewhere saying that he was lazy because he was not going back to catching fish. Ferdinand kept working on his beach every day and it was very lean days for him. Ferdinand lived a love and because of that he was able to carry on. My name is Ronald Arthurs the only son for Ferdinand Arthurs. I grew up with my mother Mrs. Harriott Jackson and her husband Mr. Eli Jackson at Mount Airy in the Parish of Westmoreland. I attended the Mount Airy All Age School until I reached six (6) grades after which I was transferred to the Negril All Age School.

One morning I was going to school, I was running because I was late, on reaching in front of a shop owned by Mr. Lemmie, and a man by the name of Eddie Keynolds came out of the shop and called out to me and said, Stop! There boy, so I stopped and he said to me "Is it true that your father said that he is going to bring Tourist to Negril", I replied "yes sir", he then turned to me and said "if your father is going to wait to see Tourist come to Negril, you are going to die of hunger", I ran off to school, I never told my father about what this man told me.

In February 1952 Mr. Alfred Weneman and his wife Lucille where staying at the Casa Blanca Hotel in Montego Bay and claimed that no one has told them about the Western front of the Island, so they decided that wanted to see what the west looked like, they engaged with a taxi man whose name was Bobsy, who was at the time driving a Chrysler car to take them to the Western parts of the Island. At that time their where no road coming from Green Island to the Negril area you would have to go up Long Hill on coming into Savanna-La-Mar and then into Negril, on coming from Green Island you would branch off to Log wood and then to Sheffield and then to Negril.

On reaching Negril Mr./ Mrs. Weneman saw the Negril beach and started to wonder why a beach like this did not have any Tourist on it. They went to the West Indies Sugar Company house and ask to be permitted to spend the time their and they were refused. They met a man whose name was Don Tate and who was incidentally a cousin of Ferdinand Arthurs. Don invited them to go with him up to Ferdinand place and so they did. On reaching the place they met with him and they loved the place.

While Mr./ Mrs. Weneman were there they and Ferdinand became friend, they gave him four (4) pounds when they were going away and promised to do what they could assist and promote his place.

Mr./ Mrs. Weneman went back to Montego Bay and called another friend they were staying at another Hotel and they told them about Ferdinand beach in Negril. The next friend decided that he and his wife would visit the following day.

Mr./ Mrs. Weneman immediately made arrangements got a sign board painted marked ARTHUR'S BEACH and sent it down the next day with the driver and the couple with instruction to Ferdinand to set it up at the gate of his beach. On arriving at the beach, the next couple met with Ferdinand and gave him the sign, they too loved the beach and became friends with Ferdinand, they spent the rest of the day there and when they where leaving they said to Ferdinand Arthurs you said that you're a poor man but we are going to show you how you can make a living from this place, on leaving they gave Ferdinand eight (8) pounds.

Both couples went back to the United States of America and started publishing Arthurs beach in Negril in the newspaper, and so guests started to arrive, some days one, some days two (2), and some days up to five (5). Shortly after the Firestone Tire Company in America sent out a representative to Ferdinand Arthurs and said we have seen your advertisement in the Press in the States and we wanted to use your beach for a day, Ferdinand agreed, and so they went away and made their arrangements and sent to tell Ferdinand day they were coming.

The Firestone Tire Company arrived with Four Hundred and Fifty (450) people for a party. One Hotel in Montego Bay did the delivering and supplying of music. They had a wonderful time. While the party was going Villagers gathered to watch what was happening and every where you could hear them saying "go up to Ferdinand Arthur's place and see what is going on up there".

The next day where ever I went some of the people would say to me Ronald your father is becoming a millionaire, sometimes I would laugh and sometimes I would say nothing.

Sometimes after the Film Company, which made the movie 2000 League Under The Sea stared by Kirk Douglas and Peter Larry, was done in Negril and Arthur's Beach became the Head Quarters for the happenings.

Arthurs Beach continued to grow steadily until 1955, in that year we had a change of Government and the People's National Party headed by the Hon. Norman Manley came to power for the first time.

After a while the Jamaica Information Service came to Negril and interviewed Ferdinand Arthurs. They also looked at pictures which he had and focused it on the TV Station in the evenings, the Hon. Norman Manley saw it on the TV and came to Negril he met Ferdinand Arthurs and decided to make Negril a Tourist Resort, he then install road, water and light.

In 1962 we had a change of Government and this was the Jamaica Labor Party who came back into power and Negril became dormant.

During the 60's the "Hippies" came. In 1972 we had another change of Government and the Peoples National Party came back into power headed by Hon. Michael Manley and Negril was on the move again.

Negril at this time has grown into one of the fastest developing areas in Jamaica and is producing thousands of jobs inside and outside of Negril. I am feeling proud to see Ferdinand Arthurs work has matured to such an excellent, so that many people both rich and poor a like can enjoy the fruit of his labour.

Editor's Note: Negril is a community that has grown and continues to grow very rapidly due to its natural and tourism resort resources. Job opportunities have attracted Jamaicans from all parts of the Country. Tourist from all quarters of the world come to Negril to partake in and enjoy its many natural, social, and cultural resources, events and activities, and true Jamaican hospitality provided by Negril's service resources.

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