An armada of onlookers: Hundreds took to the water Monday morning to witness the implosion of the Club Med building. See our photo gallery here.*Photo by Tim Hall
An armada of onlookers: Hundreds took to the water Monday morning to witness the implosion of the Club Med building. See our photo gallery here.*Photo by Tim Hall
Goodbye and good riddance to the old Club Med. On Monday morning, in a few deafening seconds, the St. George's eyesore was reduced to dust.

Thousands of people took up vantage points to watch the unprecedented event. The majority watched from the water - a flotilla of vessels, hundreds strong, made their way from all over the island and dropped anchor just beyond the Narrows Channel. Jet skis, fishing boats, and just about anything else that would float bustled for space while marine police ensured nobody ventured too close.

Many more people watched from St. George's Golf Club, where residents were taken who had been displaced from their homes. The excitement and tension intensified as 10am came and went and the minutes ticked by. "Just blow the thing up", someone shouted. Finally, at fourteen minutes past the hour, a siren sounded to mark the five-minute countdown. Three minutes later the final siren sounded and a silence gripped the waiting crowd.

Then, at 10.19am, a series of ear-splitting cracks shook the air. Despite the warning sirens, the majority of spectators jumped and missed a breath. And then it was over. As quick as you could fully focus on the scene, the hotel was gone and a cloud of dust was rolling out to sea. For those watching, the shock and excitement was mixed with relief: finally - and with such finality - the old pink monstrosity had been removed from the skyline.

Vernaee Leverock, 26, who lives on Victoria Road, within spitting distance of the hotel, said: "I've lived here all my life and looked up at that all my life and I've seen it grow old and crumble and become so, so ugly. It had to go. It was time it went. And to see it go like that - it was so exciting."

Glynn Washington, who lives on Naval Tanks Hill near Tobacco Bay, said: "It was fantastic. It was such an eyesore. Just like that, a few seconds, it was gone." Among the watching crowd, the implosion bought hope for the future. But it was not without scepticism. Government promises that a new hotel will rise from the ashes of Club Med to breathe fresh life into the east end. However, St. George's has heard that all before, and not everyone would be surprised if this latest big bang comes to nothing.

Ms Leverock said: "Talk sometimes is cheap. They have been promising this and that for so long. I'll wait and see." Mr. Washington said: "I hope we see something better. All we can do is hope."

Premier Ewart Brown and Derrick Burgess, Works and Engineering Minister, took their places in Fort St. Catherine and each pressed a button that started the implosion. Other ministers and VIPs watched from a fast ferry that floated near the Narrows Channel.

Premier Brown released a statement praising the operation: "I want to thank the Fire, Police, EMS and Regiment personnel who worked tirelessly in preparation for this historic event and also worked professionally during it," he said. "From a public safety standpoint [the] implosion was flawless and that is a direct result of a superior effort. I commend them all."

Work can now begin in earnest to remove an estimated 30,000 tons of rubble from the site to make way for the promised Park Hyatt hotel.

See video of the event, shot by Phillip Wells, here.