Efforts to bolster Devon House as the epicentre of Gastronomy in Kingston have been increased, with the official opening of an expanded ‘I-Scream’ parlour on the North Lawns of the property on Monday July 24, 2017.
The new property was created to address growing public concerns about the wait time to purchase ice cream, especially on weekends and public holidays. The project received $28 million from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to build a brand new 5,000 square feet facility, which doubles the size of its previously located courtyard and kiosk outlets on the property.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett shared that the new parlour is a mere fraction of the culinary tourism plans his Ministry has in place for the iconic Devon House facility.
“I want to indicate to you that a few weeks ago we launched the gastronomy centre of the Caribbean right here at Devon House, and that we have intentions to build out a Caribbean experience that will involve culinary tourism. We want to ensure that when you leave Devon House you will not only have ice cream but all the other delicacies which have come out of the confluence of cultures and ethnicities of our people,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister further explained that the vision of the Devon House cultural experience as well as the iconic ‘I-Scream’ brand was that of former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga.
Mr. Seaga, who was on hand for the ceremony, explained that Devon House was built around the concept of things Jamaican and within this was the element of different foods and drinks. He also disclosed that he played a key role in preventing the property from being demolished while ensuring that it would remain a Jamaican experience for tourists to enjoy in its authentic state for years to come.
“Tonight I am very glad to see what has been done with Devon House. I want to, in particular, commend the Minister of Tourism for seeing what I had in mind and giving it his blessing by continuing it,” said Mr. Seaga.
As it relates to the ice cream brand in particular, he disclosed that in its inception he charged Carol Clarke-Webster, head of Scoops Un-Limited Limited, to develop a creamier ice cream recipe that would make the product unique. He also shared that he was responsible for naming the ice cream brand.
“When I was a youngster my father used to say ‘I scream, you scream, we all scream’ and I said but wait that sounds like a very good thing, we can name the ice cream parlour after that – and that’s what happened,” recalled Mr. Seaga.
The project forms part of a much larger financial commitment from TEF – $151 million since 2012 – to refurbish Devon House and make it financially sustainable. The execution of the project, on the other hand, which also included a new walk way and rest rooms for patrons and staff, was managed by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).