Businessman: Highway will change St Thomas
The 1st and Last Bar and Ranny Jerk Centre in Albion, St Thomas, have been around for decades. The bar has been a landmark, boasting a 47-year existence.
The family business is currently operated by Denneth 'Ranny' Jones and Oneil Curniffe, whose customers continue to make it the 'first and last' stop for them at the end of each day.
But change is coming for the bar and the jerk centre. With the impending construction of the St Thomas leg of the South Coast Highway, Jones say they've been notified that their businesses will now have to move further back from its current roadside location.
But he believes this change will be good.
"If the government want something then I am going to give them, but with a good deal. They already came and make a survey, so I know I will have to move back my establishment. If bringing the highway will increase our property value, then I am all for it," Jones told THE STAR.
Taking the pothole-ridden roadway into consideration, it now takes approximately 35 to 40 minutes to travel into Kingston from Albion.
But with a new highway, Jones is predicting the timing will be decreased by some 50 per cent. The South Coast Highway Improvement Project refers to the planned development of the stretch of road from Harbour View in St Andrew, through St Thomas, into Portland.
Some 16 kilometres of the road from Harbour View to the Yallahs Bridge will be widened to accommodate four lanes of traffic.
"Honestly, I long to the see the day when it takes 15 minutes to reach Kingston. Getting this highway can only do good for St Thomas, because persons from all over will be using this route and businesses will flourish. St Thomas is usually deemed as the forgotten and poorest parish, but we can change the way people look at us," Jones said.
The 1st and Last Bar was started by Jones' mother, Olive Taylor, in 1972, while the jerk centre began its operations in 1997.