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Portmore, Jamaica, lies fifteen miles south-west of Kingston, and consists of the communities of Old Portmore, Greater Portmore, Braeton and Hellshire. From the early 1900s a few residents had been living in small communities such as Newlands, Naggo Head, Gregory Park and Old Braeton. They were mostly farmers, fishermen and plantation workers. The main link to the rest of Jamaica at that time was via trains, which passed through Gregory Park.


Portmore Mall

Church of Reconciliation

The proposal to develop the area was put forward by the Portmore Land Development Company Ltd in the mid 1960 as a means of taking some of the "overspill" from the ever increasing population of Kingston. As stated by the Company, the development was supposed to do three things: (1) relieve extreme housing pressures, particularly in Western Kingston; (2) provide for the urbanization of the agricultural population of south St. Catherine; and (3) relieve government of the cost of opening up the Hellshire Hills themselves.

The land in it's then state was unusable for three reasons. Firstly, when the Rio Cobre was in spate, the water deluged the low lying areas of what is now known as Portmore. Engineers were called in to design a protective structure to secure the area. Their solution was the construction of a floodway contained by eleven miles of dyke capable of carrying 73,000 cu. ft. per second of floodwater. 

Bridgeport High School Dome

Forum Hotel, Portmore

The second problem with Portmore was the distance by road from the industrial and commercial areas of downtown Kingston.To solve this problem the company constructed a three mile causeway across Kingston Harbour, linking the proposed development to Newrport West. A section of the 2,000 acre site created by Portmore was too low above sea level for construction and required filling. Lands in Portmore were therefore reclaimed through dredging.


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