The economic, cultural and environmental problems facing a country heavily dependent on tourism are probed in “Jamaica for Sale.” An angry condemnation of the massive upsurge in resort development currently under way on the Caribbean island, docu by academic helmer Esther Figueroa paints a bleak picture of the consequences and argues convincingly for a debate on long-enshrined government policy. Rough-and-ready essay, which world premed at Hawaii, has fest legs and pubcaster potential. Pic is bound to cause a stir following Oct. 30 transmission on local broadcaster TVJ.

Giving auds a snappy run through Jamaican history from British colonial days to 1962 independence, docu builds its case around a strike by low-paid workers on an accident-prone hotel construction site. Central tenet is that Jamaica lacks the infrastructure and environmental controls to support the government’s goal of attracting 5 million tourists (twice the local population) by 2012. Sobering images of the damage caused by toxic runoff from mega-resort sites and testimony from local fishermen facing ruin creates a strong impression of unchecked development gradually obliterating the beauty that draws visitors in the first place. Tech credits are basic.

Jamaica for Sale


  • Production: A Vagabond Media and Jamaica Environment Trust production. (International sales: Jamaica Environment Trust, Kingston, Jamaica.) Produced by Esther Figueroa, Diana McCaulay. Directed, edited by Esther Figueroa. Written by Figueroa, Diana McCaulay.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV), Figueroa.  Reviewed at Hawaii Film Festival (Green Screen), Oct. 16,  2008. English dialogue. Running time: 92 MIN.
  • With: Narrators: Jonathan Chambers, Diana McCaulay, Esther Figueroa.
  • Music By: