Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Mark Golding | Educational and economic opportunities go hand in hand

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 6:00 AMMark Golding

Excerpts from a presentation by Senator Mark Golding, aspirant to represent the constituency of South St Andrew, at a community forum.

When I decided to run for chairman of this constituency, I did not expect that such overwhelming support would build so quickly. It is an exciting mission that we have embarked on together.

They say that there is a place and time for everything, and my time has come. South St Andrew requires a strong leader. Styles will be different, but a strong and principled leader is required to galvanise this constituency to continue the important developmental work that has been done, and to bring about the further positive changes that are needed.

I bring to this constituency not only a commitment to preserve the gains that have been made so far, but also new ideas, new opportunities and new policies. My knowledge, expertise and connections will become your knowledge, expertise and connections. In Team Mark Golding, no one gets left behind.

So I ask you to work with me, as I cannot do it alone.

Dr Davies and his team have done great work in building up the institutions in the constituency that strengthen our human capital. Many residents, young and not so young, have had their lives transformed by the educational opportunities that have been achieved under his leadership. These gains must be preserved, and taken further.

The educational opportunities now need to feed into economic opportunities, through business stimulation and job creation. We envision the type of economic development that will see more young people finishing their education with qualifications that can feed into employment in Jamaica's emerging economy. We need to see more mothers having the ability to contribute financially to their children's upbringing, more fathers able to live up to their responsibilities to their children, and more youths engaged in useful enterprise to build their self-esteem and give them hope for future.

Our vision is the establishment of a special economic zone in the constituency, taking advantage of our location so near the expanding Port of Kingston and Jamaica's position on the main trade route connecting to the expanded Panama Canal. I am talking about business process outsourcing, logistics services, maritime services, light manufacturing and value-added assembly for local and international markets.

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT DEVELOPMENT

 

Micro and small business development is also very important, because not everybody will find a job that is created by someone else. The entrepreneurial spirit is already here in South St Andrew; it needs support and guidance.

South St Andrew's sporting and entertainment resources are also great developmental opportunities, to be further developed. There are many creatively talented youths here; talent that needs to be nurtured so they can help themselves and their families. Trench Town is an international brand, built by Bob Marley and so many other great performers that have come out of this great epicentre of Jamaican popular music. We can attract more visitors, and create a cultural village for them to enjoy and spend in. There is real potential cultural tourism, and it has already started with venues like the Trench Town Culture Yard. We must also explore sports tourism, using the Tony Spaulding Complex, Boys' Town Stadium and other sporting assets that already exist here, and seek to find new revenue streams to achieve economic sustainability.

However, none of this will be possible if we do not maintain the peace and stability that have been built in this constituency in recent years. Investors and businesses need to feel comfortable coming into this constituency. We cannot drive the economic development that the people are so anxious to see unless we maintain an atmosphere of calm, peace and harmony.

It is therefore critical that this campaign for the chairmanship of the constituency be conducted in accordance with the best traditions of our party. Respect, decency and fairness must be the hallmarks of this contest.

Colin Campbell and I have both pledged to run clean campaigns. We must both make sure that our words and actions, and the words and actions of those who are working with us, live up to that noble commitment. Not one threat should be made. Not one drop of blood should be spilled. We must banish that style of politics, and live as one family. We are all on the same side. Let us treat each other with love.

Team Mark Golding is committed to this style of politics, and I call on the other team to walk along that road also. A peaceful contest now will serve the example for how we intend to preserve and build unity in the constituency. And I say to you tonight, no-one need fear the outcome of this contest. When we are successful in this contest, I can commit to you that everyone will be included in our programme to build the constituency, as we move forward together.

Thank you all for coming to this community forum. It is a good time. I feel the love. God bless you all. God bless the people of South St Andrew. God bless our party. And God bless Jamaica, land we love.