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UDC denies restaurant changes at Dunn’s River

Published:Friday | August 23, 2019 | 12:00 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter
Children at play in the central gardens at Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) the Government agency that owns Dunn’s River Falls and Park Attraction, has sought to disassociate the tourist attraction from a US-based cannabidiol data-gathering company, HQ Global, which claims it will be operating a restaurant on the lands of Dunn’s River.

On August 16, HQ Global announced that Hempsession, a podcast for cannabidiol which it recently acquired, would assume full management and operational control of Jerk Centre – the largest restaurant at Dunn’s River Falls – with an eye to “rebranding it along the lines of Hempsession’s themes of reggae, world music and all things hemp-related”.

HQ Global Education says it is dedicated to becoming the industry leader in data gathering, intelligence and education for the industrial CBD industry in America, and to playing a major role in helping to fill the enormous global demand for CBD oil and related products. The Delaware corporation acquired Hempsession in June 2019.

According to HQ Global, the parties have already agreed to all terms in a preliminary agreement, with final execution and the formal transfer of operational control to take place in Jamaica within the next few days. The American company said it will be adding mixed drinks to Jerk Centre’s existing menu, which includes beer and wine, once Hempsession assumes control.

However, the UDC says it does not offer a jerk concession at the attraction.

“Dunn’s River Falls and Park does not own or operate a jerk centre and any company utilising the name of the attraction is this regard is infringing on the rights of the company. The UDC has therefore not entered into a management or operational arrangement with Hempsession or any other company and will be investigating same,” UDC’s Director of Corporate Communication, Lorna Clarke, said in an emailed response to queries from the Financial Gleaner, while noting that the Dunn’s River Falls and Park Attraction is a registered trademark of the UDC.

Dunn’s River operates only two restaurants under the names Haydens, and Too Cool, based on checks made by the Financial Gleaner. It’s not clear if Hempsession’s deal is with the Ocho Rios Jerk Centre which sits closer to the Ocho Rios cruise terminal but is not located on the grounds of Dunn’s River.

“We are excited to make this announcement, which is the first of several steps we intend to take as we expand our Hempsession brand and business model,” Hempsession founder Oliver del Camino said the release.

He added the jerk centre is expected to provide the company with immediate cash flow while boosting Hempsession’s international brand awareness through exposure to the millions of tourists who continue to visit Jamaica.